"the jm group knows where the corners are that it needs to think around".

The JM Group is differentiated by its detailed market knowledge – whether in the financial services, consultancy, major corporate or technology sectors. 
Our search practice is led by Directors who have a deep understanding of their specialist markets and the key individuals within them.
Many new senior roles have never existed before – either within the client’s organisation or externally. Frequently, this means the primary search challenge is around finding people that “can do” the job, rather than people that “have done” it.
As a result, an effective search firm must be able to think laterally and understand the possibilities that exist in the markets being searched. Our proven networking skills, combined with our in-house original research capability, ensures that assignments – both in the UK and overseas – are completed swiftly and efficiently. 
Clients find our transparent process refreshing; we communicate frequently throughout the process on progress, produce weekly activity reports and have a fee structure based on results. Over the last three years, we have completed 91% of the searches that we have undertaken.
Examples of recent assignments:
IT Director – a Board-level hire for a fast-growing consumer finance firm; responsible for shaping business strategy, defining & executing IT strategy and leading transformational change.
Managing Director, Financial Services Consulting – for one of the top tier global IT services companies; full P&L responsibility across IT / business process outsourcing and infrastructure / applications services portfolios.
Director, IT Strategy – for one of the UK’s leading asset / wealth management companies; responsible for defining the IT / change strategy for a fast-growing and highly-acquisitive business.

Head of Applications and Projects – for one of the UK’s leading property companies; responsible for taking control of all applications and projects including defining the strategy for a major player. 
To find out more about how the jm group can help find, select and recruit A-grade talent, contact Simon Girven – Director, The JM Group on 020 7251 7309, or email him at


Please note that should you engage a candidate that The JM Group has introduced to your organisation, a fee will be payable to The JM Group (IT Recruitment) Limited as per our standard terms & conditions of business


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Is HMRC Revoking Contractors Rights to Expenses?

The last few years have seen several legislative changes brought into play in a bid to clamp down on unscrupulous practices by a number of payroll firms. In the Autumn Statement of 2014, the Government went on to highlight the growing use of overarching employment contracts by some service providers, which allow their employees to benefit from tax relief on things they would not ordinarily be able to claim. On paper, this may seem all fair and well. However, following the release of this year's budget, it was announced that tax relief on travel and subsistence expense is going to be greatly restricted for employees of umbrella and limited companies, who are under the 'supervision, direction and control of the end user'. This latter phrase has become an underlying cause for concern amongst many contractors across the UK - the main issue being the dubious ambiguity of HMRC's definition of SDC, and who exactly should fall into its category. Even at face value however, the knock-on effects could extend beyond the contractors themselves and right into the hearts of their relevant industries as more contractors become liable for PAYE and NI. For example, the costs of hiring a contractor in the IT industry could rise two-fold. Firstly because there will be less contractors as the market shifts to more permanent opportunities. Secondly, contractors who fall within the SDC division will increase their rates to account for the loss of expenses and increase of PAYE and NI costs. One potential outcome is that end clients will have to take responsibility for advising recruitment consultancies as to whether the roles fall within or outside the scope of SDC. Meanwhile, contractors who are declared as working within SDC are likely to request a pay rise, change contracts to a non-SDC assignment, or even start to look for permanent opportunities. The document itself - Employment Intermediaries and Tax Relief for Travel and Subsistence is still in its consultation stage, and can be commented on until the 30th September.

22 September 2015

Are IT Salaries on the Rise?

Working in IT has long been recognised as a means of earning a decent income. But recent shifts in the market have led to an increase in average salary across a wide range of IT roles and there is evidence to suggest this trend could continue. It may be an obvious thing to point out, that technology advancements coupled with years of underinvestment are driving business change in the UK. The growth and innovation that has come from this change however is prompting the need for additional IT talent across multiple sectors. Investments are being made to expand and galvanise infrastructures, with budgets extending to enable systems implementations, network upgrades and new security initiatives. In a bid to meet these more demanding in-house IT requirements, recruitment levels for technology professionals are at an all-time high across almost every industry and sector. Another element of change comes with the shift towards more permanent and well-paid positions; accounting for on going projects and initiatives, as well as continual IT risk security and domestic expansion. Further to this, is the growing number of businesses looking to nearshore or reshore their IT functions back into Europe and the UK. The result of all this appears to be that technology professionals are in strong demand and short supply, thus putting the ball firmly in the candidate's court. According to Computerworld's 2015 IT Salary Survey of IT professionals in the US, 74% of participants named an increase in salary as the biggest influential factor in changing their job. The survey also revealed that 64% had received an internal pay rise in the last year. These internal pay rises set against the increased average salaries hint at employers getting savvy to the wants and needs of IT pros who are, at the present moment, sitting rather pretty. The only thing that technology buffs need to be aware of is that all of this is only applicable to the top talent. So if they are to really cash in, they must be at the top of their game and able to demonstrate the skills and technical expertise that companies are so desperately looking for. If this is you and you want to find out more about what jobs are on offer, as well as reviewing your current salary, simply speak with one of our trained consultants or check our website for details.

07 September 2015

Is Information Sharing Key to Security Success?

In May this year the Wassenaar Arrangement got its first proper airing, introducing new export regulations with the intention of extending restrictions on export and sale of intrusion software and software vulnerabilities. The changes could affect a very broad number of businesses, from those that are offering penetration-testing packages through to those producing software that scans for vulnerabilities. The wide-ranging nature of the extension has been very publicly criticised by Google, which has stated that it believes it to be "dangerous broad and vague" and, in basic terms, simply just not practically feasible. Tens of thousands of export licences Of course, Google has phrased its objections in a fairly broad context, drawing attention to the "significant negative impact" the regulations would be likely to have on the open security research community. But Google's objections are not just in the interests of the community in general but with respect to its own administrative burden too - the new regulations would put Google in the position of having to request perhaps tens of thousands of export licences, something that would be hugely costly and take up significant resources. Difficulties with vulnerability disclosure The search engine giant also makes the point that the consequent demands of the new regulations could introduce huge delays with respect to bug vulnerability disclosure processes and the like and states that "you should never need a license when you report a bug to get it fixed." Google's solution is "standing license exceptions for everyone when controlled information is reported back to manufacturers for the purposes of fixing a vulnerability" as this would protect those researching and reporting vulnerabilities, exploits, or other controlled information. Google's argument is that the Wassenaar Arrangement could otherwise result in vulnerability disclosure becoming too difficult so that those who are discovering issues look to less above board sources to generate a return for what they've discovered. Information sharing Information sharing is another much more credible alternative as far as Google is concerned. It believes that multi-nationals should be able to engage in multi national information sharing on intrusion software, without the need to obtain a licence for it as is proposed. We all know that, in theory, licensing seems a logical way to structure and control the vulnerability market but there needs to be a balance between disclosure, internal company policies and realistic expectations in order for any changes to work. Most of all, Google has insisted that clarity is the most important element - or we could just end up with one big, costly, global mess.

24 August 2015

What is the future of SDN?

Software Defined Networking (SDN) is still a relatively emerging architecture that allows network administrators to manage network services through abstraction of lower-level functionality. This abstraction is ideal for efficiently developing new applications, making SDN a great tool for delivering innovative services in a more timely way. SDN also centralises the intelligence of a network system and this makes network utilisation more flexible and, as complexity is hidden from operators, SDN is also easy to operate and maintain. It was perhaps with Google's step onto the SDN bandwagon in 2011 that this technology started to really become a telecom technology trend, rather than an obscure academic idea. Google's intervention illustrated how SDN is able to go beyond its data centre origins and introduce WAN cost and efficiency benefits and this triggered a hive of activity around using SDN. Companies such as Verizon Communications, AT&T, NTT Communications Corp and Telstra Corp have all announced the incorporation of SDN in some way, shape or form over the past two years. With this stage has come the really hard questions that need to be answered if SDN is to progress from being simply a technology trend to architecture that can be properly implemented, integrated and commercialised. As a result of the stage that SDN has reached, it's still hard to determine exactly what the future will be and drawing concrete conclusions is almost impossible. However, there are a number of issues that will affect what happens to the future of SDN that are worth taking a look at in order to get some idea of its potential longevity. Security Cyber security is a frontline issue for just about everyone right now but the security of SDN and NFV networks has not really had a lot of airtime. Given the way that SDN is developing, however, this is likely to become one of the main issues in the very near future. Real life examples For some time it hasn't really been clear what might be possible with SDN, both economically and technically, but there are now some compelling real world examples, with a significant concentration around WAN automation in general. Overcoming IP and optical integration IP and optical layers can be logically integrated through software control and management using SDN, providing a new option for this architecture. SDN overcomes multi-vendor interoperability, which has always been the missing link when it comes to uniting these different layers.

13 August 2015

How Will 5G Change the Telecoms Industry?

As most of us continue to get to grips with our new 4G gadgets, without even really understanding or experiencing their true potential, the telecoms industry is already ploughing on with 5G test beds. But what is 5G? Well, this is the thing. As yet it remains little more than a concept; a future-vision cast out by the telecoms industry with view to preparing us all for our technological needs in years to come. Which, considering the unprecedented growth of the Internet of Things and the demand for wireless connection, could be seen as a critical component of global infrastructure. Traditionally, each generation of mobile technology has sought out to fix the problems that arose in the past. With 5G, the focus is more of a 'prediction' than a remedy. Think 2020. Of course so much can and will happen that no one can possibly know what the final outcome will be. But here are just a few examples of what to expect from the current idea of 5G: It will be ridiculously fast with huge bandwidth capacity Battery life will be greatly increased Smart Cities will become a reality It will be almost unbreakable [apparently] Technically speaking, all this will be possible thanks to 5G's ability to provide coverage at the higher end of the frequency spectrum, known as millimetre waves, thus helping to alleviate over-capacitated small cell networks. It is likely to be working in conjunction with existing network technologies and bands currently used for the deployment of 3G and 4G. Of course there is no exact prediction as to how and when 5G will make its impact, but there has been plenty of talk suggesting UK and Europe as likely pioneers thanks to companies such as Ericsson who are already busy test-driving 5G devices. KT Telecom also hinted that the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeonchang could see the first commercial rollout of the technology. Whatever the future holds, if 5G lives up to any of its promises, things could get very interesting indeed.

27 July 2015

Press Release - JM Appoints 2 New Directors

The JM Group is pleased to announce two senior appointments within the company. Adam Drew and Fiona Eddy were invited to become Directors of the JM Group (IT Recruitment) Limited and we are delighted that they have both accepted. Fiona Eddy has been appointed Director with immediate effect. Fiona brings to the board her deep experience of relationship management and client development as well as her extensive knowledge of contract recruitment gained during her18 year career at JM.     Adam Drew has been appointed Finance and Operations Director with immediate effect. His broader role across the business will include full responsibility for Finance, HR, IT and Operations.     Stuart Milton, Chairman of The JM Group, commented: "We are delighted that Fiona and Adam have joined us on the Board, their appointments will be key to the future success of the group. The JM Group offers a full compliment of recruitment services, including executive search, selection, contingent permanent, contracts and interim services.

24 July 2015

96 % of UK Corporations Hacked: Is Anyone Really Safe?

New data has revealed a staggering percentage of UK corporations reporting security breaches. The hacks appear to be for a number of reasons, namely to steal, change or publicise important data. According to the government-commissioned 2015 Information Security Breaches Survey conducted by PwC, 90% of the bigger organisations polled reported breaches - more than 10% up on last year's figures. Smaller firms have also seen a leap in successful hacks, with 74% now admitting to being left vulnerable to attack. The survey also showed that the majority of businesses expect their incident rate to further increase in the coming year. What is perhaps most disconcerting however is the nature of the attacks, which are predominantly being targeted by outsiders via the use of malicious software. While many firms are doing what they can to protect themselves from cybercrime, there remain a significant number of UK businesses - 9.1% - that have yet to implement any kind of safeguarding procedure. This trend is by no means exclusive to the UK either. In the world's longest running and most comprehensive research on senior financial executives, the latest round of data from the Global Business Outlook Survey shows increased hacking to be a global issue. 92% of polled businesses across Europe have been hacked, with 23% not acting to prevent attacks. More than 80% of firms in the US have been breached, with a further 85% across Asia, Africa and Latin America. It is clear then that cybercrime is not going to go away anytime soon. But with so many businesses failing to protect themselves, the real problem seems to be a little closer to home. Thus the role of the in-house ITC security team is becoming more important than ever.

13 July 2015

A New Segmentation for Retail Financial Services

Courtesy of JM Guest Blogger Anne Boden of Starling Bank. We all know the context. Despite billions of pounds of investment in new propositions, brand "refreshes" and other marketing, trust in the UK banking sector is still at an all time low. There is very little actual differentiation between the main retail banking players, and almost no perceived distinction when you ask customers. If people bother to move at all, they are pushed out by bad service, unexpected fees or lack of product competitiveness, and are pulled to an alternative by little more than convenience of alternate branch or until recently joining cash incentive. But we believe the market is on the tipping point of major change. There is a new generation of players that have or are about to launch. Many will play in the traditional retail banking space, but differentiate by channel or customer experience. Some are taking one element of the services traditionally delivered by the banks, and either offering a best in class experience or serving previously under-served audiences. This is the sort of market disaggregation that has happened in the US, and we believe is inevitable in the UK as well. This article attempts to take this moment in time, and capture who's doing what, in order to help the uninitiated navigate this increasingly complex, brave new world of how the UK population can manage their money. Big banks and traditional challengers The players here are well known. Defined, and some would say hampered, by their history and, in most cases, their high street presence. Legacy systems restrict innovation, and large customer bases restrict the ability to expand quickly to meet evolving customer expectations. The likes of TSB and Williams & Glyn have been forced into existence by EC mandates to increase competition post financial crisis but are simply "a chip off the old block" encumbered with legacy without the scale of the originating big bank. I'm not sure this is where you would start if you really wanted to create a new and agile player likely to introduce some true competition. The exceptions to this are the new players of Metro and Virgin Money. That said, there was much expectation set at the launch of both players, but little delivery beyond making slightly better what was annoying customers - faster account opening, branch hours more reflective of a busy, urban audience, and some small product innovation. Savings and mortgages - building societies as was plus new entrants For some time yet, there will still be power in the savings and mortgage space, occupied by those that can offer increased value. This is mostly driven by their ability to price competitively in moments of key market demand. It will be interesting to see how this sub-category of brands retain relevance as the generations who remember the power of the building society model mature. Currently price is still their biggest draw to younger generations, but the lack of investment in defining their brands beyond this rational hook may result in further disaggregation in this space, as we've seen in other lending markets. The supermarkets and other retailers This sector saw large levels of investment between 2012 and 2014, but it feels like focus has returned (out of necessity) to their core business of grocery. Trust remains an issue - many people seem happy to take out insurance or a reward based credit card, but very few are moving their current account relationship. Why does a banking licence matter? So one of the key questions we get asked is why we are bothering to apply for a banking licence? And the answer is simple. For the time being, the word 'bank' is still the frame of reference that people look to in terms of where to securely keep and manage their money. Alongside this, there is still an element of trust that comes with the increased regulatory supervision imposed on the banks. Most importantly of course, it provides the maximum available protection for customers' money, with balances being underwritten by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme to the tune of £85,000 per customer, per bank. As we come on to some of the disaggregated products hitting the market, there is a common misconception that this means money is protected in the same way. And of course, whilst they are regulated, the same level of protection isn't offered. The next generation of banks The simplest way to think about the core of new market entrants is that they will effectively replicate the full set of products and services a traditional retail bank has, just through all or a subset of digital channels. Necessary branch based services (e.g. paying in cash or cheques) will still be offered, but via a third party arrangement. That's not to say this reference to the traditional product set is a bad thing in any way. Customers still frame their decision around the core set of products that have existed for many years. And the advantage all of these players have is in building the majority of their systems for current market requirements, enabling them to both avoid the sins of the past and hopefully deliver genuine innovation in customer experience. Some are specialising based on audience - OakNorth and Civilised are focusing more on the small business audience; Lintel believe there is untapped potential with foreign nationals, but the majority still see the advantage in servicing a broad base of customers. How will Starling be different from this? We believe there is an opportunity to go further than just replicating a full set of retail banking products, and focus on delivering an exceptional, mobile-first experience for the core customer need of money management, by building a single, best in class, current account. As highlighted in previous blogs, why do customers have multiple products that do slightly different shades of the same thing? The mental accounting piece aside (because that can be solved in other ways), it's because banks have spent years telling customers they need them. And why? Because selling (and it was selling) complex products, with opaque charging models made really good commercial sense! Of course, like all new players, we will be looking to right the many wrongs proliferated by the category. But in focusing on a single product build, all of our investment in the customer experience will be concentrated on the things customers need and use the most. Neo-banks If you look at the US and some of the European markets, you can see another area of growth that is likely to hit the UK market soon, in the form of so-called neo-banks. These brands claim to deliver the best in class digital experience, with none of the risk of a balance sheet - so they effectively put a layer of information management over another banks' product set. The challenge with this is that customers' funds and effectively the bulk of the relationship is held with the partner bank, and so in creating those hand-offs, such as in the on-boarding process, this can still be onerous. Simple and Moven are probably the most well known names in this space, with Number 26 starting to grow their reputation across Europe. Monese will be the first player to launch in the UK, currently schedule for summer 2015. Whilst full details on their proposition are yet to be revealed, current messaging features the ease and speed of account opening, as well as the lack of hidden fees - but transparency is easier when you don't allow customers to borrow any money at all. Pre-paid debit cards The grouping of brands that have the greatest potential to cause customer confusion have to be the pre-paid debit cards. Many are calling themselves a "bank", without needing or possessing a banking licence, and/or promoting their "current accounts", without offering the full spectrum of benefits customers have come to associate with this nomenclature. Or at least certainly not offering the same level of free banking as is currently offered by the retail banks. Now this may lead to a greater level of transparency for the sector overall. As one of the brands quite rightly claims, no banking is truly free in the UK, as all businesses need to make money somewhere. The danger though is that currently, many of the players in this space are a viable offer for those that can't pass the credit scoring required for a full current account with the banks, and would rather have the additional benefits offered (although at a cost) beyond historical "basic" bank accounts. Whilst transparent in terms of charging, I would argue that customers will pay a premium to go via this route. For some it is worth the monthly cost - for those without credit history or credentials, the security of an FSCS scheme and the absence of overdraft facilities is irrelevant. It is better to have a card than no card at all. However, it is sad that the people who least afford services sometimes pay the most and social inclusion in the financial system remains a challenge. Payments and digital wallets As payments and mobile technology evolves, some would argue whether you need a card at all. As NFC technology advances, secure mobile or wearables payments should become the norm. The two biggest barriers in the UK currently are the roll-out of technology at the merchant end, with many terminals still not taking contactless, let alone mobile, and there are still large populations of customers for whom security is a concern. Of course services such PayPal, and others like ApplePay, Google Wallet, and Amazon offering a digital wallet still ultimately need to be "funded" from somewhere or only currently house existing, traditional card details. But what are the barriers in the future to them to create their own cards and / or fully-fledged current accounts? When this happens, markets such as the pre-paid cards will cease to exist, forcing those brands to evolve or die. FX / international payments Whilst a much smaller market, international payments has not remained static either, with Transferwise leading the charge to take business away from what it says are the cost prohibitive bank services. I wouldn't rule out the old school Western Union and Money Gram however, who still benefit from large volumes of usage by foreign nationals, and are looking at their own innovation to stay relevant in a digital age. The lending market will continue to evolve Finally, it will be interesting to see what happens in the lending space after the flurry of new entrants, and market disaggregation in recent years. With much regulatory focus on the payday lenders, we may see some contraction here. What will be interesting is to see who in the peer-to-peer space is really set to weather any sort of storm (touch lots of wood that we won't see a financial crisis like the last anytime soon). The attractive rates are bringing in the savers, in an environment of rock bottom rates everywhere else. But as rates start to rise, how much of a return will customers be willing to trade off for their FSCS protection? So what? Ultimately, what's the desired outcome of all of this increased competition? Well of course, it should be to ensure customers will have more choice. And that is the agenda that should be driving what ever proposition the brands of the future create. Courtesy of JM Guest Blogger Anne Boden of Starling Bank.This article first appeared on Anne Boden's Linkedin Blog which can be found here

03 July 2015

Top Tips When Job Hunting

When it comes to job hunting, the smart money is on those candidates who manage to achieve maximum results with minimum effort. Increase your chances of getting the role that you want and take all the hassle out of the process, with out top tips for job hunting. Don't just wait for the work to come to you. It might sound like a lot of effort but actually you're saving yourself time to go proactively seeking jobs rather than applying at the same time as everyone else. You may be able to apply for a role before others get the chance to or you might simply benefit from demonstrating enthusiasm or being the first CV in the pile - search for opportunities via social media, the websites of the companies you want to work for, by contacting HR teams and looking for signs that a company might be recruiting, such as deal news, new partnerships or client announcements. Network heartily. This doesn't mean standing around in stuffy rooms clutching a glass of warm wine. Make sure your social media profiles are up to date and compelling and make contacts online. Don't waste your energy attending every event in your industry, research those that are likely to have the best attendees for connections and then go and perform at your networking best for a couple of hours and come home with all the connections you need without breaking a sweat. How can you stand out? Yes, most CVs need to tick certain boxes for certain jobs but you also need to make sure there is something that differentiates you from the rest. You might want to start your CV with a short, compelling personal statement, or you could even opt for a gimmick - send your CV with some Easter chocolate, for example. Focus on the company, not the job. If you know you want to work for a specific business then become their biggest fan. Interact with them via social media, be a brand ambassador and contribute to their digital marketing. Brands want employees to love their products and services as much as they do so this is a great way to get noticed. Create your own job. This is ambitious but if you think a company is lacking a certain position then tell them about it. You'll need to back this up by researching the business, and the market, stating what they're missing out on without it and what benefits you would bring. Make sure you communicate this to the right person too - it's usually better sent to a partner/manager level employee, rather than HR or recruitment.  

29 June 2015