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Hiring trends for Asia’s banking and financial services sector in Q2 2017



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Global recruitment specialist, Ambition has recently released it Banking & Financial Services Market Insights Q2 2017 report for Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Some of the key findings included:

  • Malaysia sees a strong demand for business change teams, process engineers, business analysts, and project managers.
  • Singapore expects a continued demand for experts in regulatory reporting, as well as capital and liquidity management.
  • In Hong Kong, the demand for private equity professionals continues – especially around funds, investments and corporate accounting.

Hiring and salary trends in Malaysia

In Q1 2017, Malaysia continues to see the trend of global banks migrating and building functions in its capital, Kuala Lumpur (KL) – leading to career opportunities for the professionals in the banking and financial services sector.

As these functions are still considered new to Malaysia, there was a short supply of local talents to meet this demand. Hence, banks continued to focus on attracting expat expertise who could build and develop talented, sustainable teams with the pool of local and returning Malaysian professionals.

Additionally, core growth areas are seen across investment banking, wealth, risk and anti money laundering (AML)/ compliance operations, as organisations work on keeping up with global regulatory standards. On that note, the report saw a demand for professionals who could support growth in these areas.

As expected there was also a strong demand for business change teams, process engineers, business analysts, and project managers due to the continued migration of regional and global processes to KL. As it goes through Q2, similar hiring trends is expected for the industry as the market continues to mature in Malaysia.

ALSO READ: Banking sector in Malaysia spends only about 3% of payroll on training annually

Additionally, some of the highest paid roles include head of product control, regional financial controller, head of operations, and programme manager – which may start from an annual salary of RM220k and can go up to RM300k.

MY_salary 1 MY_salary 2

Hiring trends in Singapore

As for Singapore in the first quarter of the year, it’s been reported that larger banks were actively recruiting permanent headcount across several niche areas. For example, there was a continued demand in the finance and accounting sector for experts in regulatory reporting, as well as capital and liquidity management. This is due to regulatory pressures and a shortage of experienced talent in the market.

Additionally, there was also active hiring within the financial planning and analysis area, as firms continue to look for talent who can add commercial value. Identifying top talent in this space continues to be a challenge, especially when many banks have been gripped by identification of local talent.

On the other hand, with the continued growth of private equity and venture capital, there has been an increased demand for fund accountants. However, as most fund accountants are from traditional backgrounds such as mutual funds and hedge funds, there has been a shortage of fund accounting expertise to meet the demand.

As for Singapore, some of the highest paid roles include head of audit (S$280k and above per annum), head of market risk (S$300k and above per annum), regional chief financial officer (S$330k – S$500k per annum) and head of management reporting (S$300k and above per annum).

SG_salary 1SG_salary 2

Hiring trends in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the demand for private equity professionals continues; especially around funds, investments and corporate accounting. The report also noted that financial institutions tend to use recruitment consultancies to scout for such profiles due to its very specific nature.

There has also been a demand for financial reporting professionals at mid-to-senior levels, though again, these roles do not exist in volume.

Private banking has seen plenty of activity, especially around client servicing and documentation roles. There was also a talent demand in operations project with transfer agency and retail banking industry experience. For these project professionals, companies preferred those with both strategic planning and implementation capabilities rather than those with just an oversight role.

ALSO READ: Hong Kong to strengthen private banking talent pool

For investment banking professionals in Hong Kong, managing directors in internal audit, compliance, regulatory reporting can look forward to a yearly salary of HK$2m to HK$2.2m. On the other hand, regional CFOs are also amongst the highest paid with an expected annual salary of HK$2m.

HK_salary 1 HK_salary 2

Table / Ambition
Photo / 123RF



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