Banks taking longer to hire because of tougher background checks

Job offers pulled and start dates delayed as banks toughen background checks

Bloomberg News reports that top firms are said to have pulled job offers and delayed start dates as banks toughen background checks after scandals heightened scrutiny of individuals’ behavior.

Investment bank hiring in the U.K. 'can take a great deal longer, especially for senior management, which is looked at very closely,' said Simon Morris, a London lawyer in CMS Cameron McKenna LLP’s financial services group. The time banks take preparing an application for a new hire to obtain regulatory authorization to work at a London bank 'has tripled, quadrupled and quintupled. In the old days, it took a day.'

The moves show banks aren’t just tightening controls on employees as legal costs spiral, they’re also taking closer looks at new hires to head off problems before they get in the door. From 2008 through the second quarter of this year, the 24 European banks with the biggest exposure have paid or set aside at least $119 billion in fines, settlements, consumer redress and provisions, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

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