Big Four audit firm EY’s financial services business expects to grow by an additional 3,000 new jobs over the next three years in its Europe, Middle East, India and Africa region, the department’s new head said.
“[The new roles] are all in areas where we see a lot of market disruption, a lot of where clients are being asked big questions about their future,” Omar Ali, the new head of the 14,000-strong EMEIA financial services business, told Financial News. Of the 3,000 new jobs, around 150 of them will be partner-level roles.
Ali added that EY will have a focus on building talent in climate change and sustainability, technology, data and artificial intelligence practices, as well as expanding their legal offering.
Ali, who is currently EY’s EMEIA financial services client services leader, will take over the reins from Marcel Van Loo on 1 July. Prior to his last role, Ali led the audit firm’s UK financial services business from 2015 to 2020. He joined the firm in 2001 and became a partner in 2006.
The challenges facing the financial services sector in the region, which will be at the top of Ali’s agenda in his new role, are multiple. Alongside the pandemic, climate change, sustainability and the sustainable finance agenda also presents “a massive opportunity” for the industry.
There’s also the risk of increasing fragmentation across European financial services. he said: “Post-Brexit, we have seen large numbers of financial services organisations create EU hubs but there is no one city, one jurisdiction that has one won out above everyone else.”
That fragmentation could increase friction, costs and risk, he explained, adding that jobs could go to the US or Asia as a result.
Last month, a survey of around 70 chief executives in the financial services sector carried out by EY found that cost management is the top priority over the next three years for 52% of those polled.
Alongside his work at EY, Ali chairs TheCityUK’s long-term competitiveness group, where he is also a board member.