Wall Street is hungry for risk management expertise and appears to be opening up the checkbook with recruiters to get it.

The recruiting of risk management executives by large banks, brokerages and hedge funds is on the rise, according to the online financial jobs site eFinancialCareers.com. For three consecutive months the site had year-over-year increases in job postings, reports US Banker, a Collections & Credit Risk sister publication.

The hiring trend is taking place as banks and other financial services companies assess their risk strategies, says Constance Melrose, managing director for eFinancialCareers, a Dice Holdings unit.

“We’ve got some degree of regulatory reform that’s on the horizon, so no doubt there’s going to be some impact to how people have to view capital management and risk taking,” she says.

Melrose didn’t specify which companies are doing the bulk of the courting, but the site attracts job postings from firms such as Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Societe Generale and Black Rock Holdings. Most positions are based in New York.

For nearly all of 2009, monthly posts for risk management jobs were between 38% and 57% below comparable 2008 levels.

But in December, job postings were 2% above the year-earlier total, the first such increase in that category since May 2008, when the soon-to-unfold financial crisis was beginning to simmer. January’s job postings grew 15% year-over-year, and February 19%. March levels, though not yet tallied, are expected to be up as well, Melrose says.

The improved outlook hasn’t eased an extremely competitive environment for jobseekers, Melrose says. She notes that banks are looking for 10 years of experience for high-level executive posts, and two to three years for lower-level management or analysis positions. Required qualifications also emphasize a background in system-wide governance, which was not a hallmark of many institutional practices in recent years. The good news: High-end risk managers can expect to pull in at least $200,000 a year, including bonuses.

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