Now, the growth industry is in helping financial firms figure out how to follow the rules.
Financial examiners and compliance officers are expected to be two of the 30 fastest-growing U.S. occupations over the next 10 years, according to a Labor Department report released Thursday.
Two years ago, financial analysts — the people at investment firms who pore over stocks and bonds — were on that list. But one financial crisis later, their occupation has fallen out of the top 30.
Robert Johnson, senior managing director at the CFA Institute, a membership group for money managers and financial analysts, said the report is good news for the financial markets.
"The finance industry grew so rapidly that people were attracted for the wrong reasons," he said. "People were buying and selling assets they didn't understand."
If securities firms and other institutions increase their focus on compliance, "that's wonderful news for investors," he said.
Financial examiner jobs are projected to grow more than 40 percent from 2008 to 2018, the department's report said. Examiners are employed by banks, insurance companies and other firms, as well as by the government agencies that regulate them. They're charged with ensuring that the firms comply with the state and federal rules that govern their industries. The occupation will account for 38,000 jobs in 10 years, the department said.
Compliance officers perform similar work and are mostly employed by government regulators and financial firms. They are more numerous than examiners, and their jobs are forecast to jump 31 percent to a total of 341,000 by 2018, the department said.
Accountants and auditors are projected to add 279,000 jobs within 10 years, the department said, for a total of almost 1.6 million.
All these professions "will benefit from an increasingly complex regulatory environment," the department said. Congress is considering wide-ranging legislation to tighten the rules governing Wall Street.
Every two years, the Labor Department projects how many jobs the economy will generate over the next decade and in what industries and occupations.
Many of the occupations the department expects to grow the fastest are concentrated in the health care industry. The aging U.S. population is creating greater demand for nurses, home health aides and physician assistants.
Home health aides are expected to jump by 50 percent and account for 1.4 million jobs by 2018, the department said. And physician assistants, who can provide less-costly care than doctors, are forecast to jump by 39 percent, to 104,000 jobs.
Information technology workers are expected to keep growing. Businesses are using more complex internal networks and strengthening their computer security, the department said. And mobile computing is growing more popular.
Providing health care for pets is also likely to be a growing field: The department said veterinarians and vet technicians should each increase by about a third.