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Lower salaries for Asian bankers

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Asian private banks are less likely to roll out exorbitant pay packages this year, thanks to rising costs.

Boston Consulting Group (BCG) reported cost as a portion of banks’ revenues dropped from 80% in 2011 to 71% last year, signalling firms being more cautious with their overheads, Wall Street Journal reported.

“Wealth managers are paying more and more attention to costs, and since relationship manager pay is one of the biggest contributors to costs, they are also looking for ways to limit that,” Federico Burgoni, a partner and leader of the wealth management segment at BCG in Singapore, said.

Justin Ong, a partner at PwC in Singapore, added another reason salary levels are starting to plateau is because job-hopping among private bankers has become less rampant.

“In contrast to a few years ago, when private bankers stayed in their jobs an average of two years, the moves you see today are mostly at the senior banker level and are much less frequent,” Ong said.

Asian private bankers are also bringing in less revenue when compared to their peers in other parts of the world.

A survey by Accenture found while on average, North American private bankers brought in US$1.1 million and European bankers US$1.3 million, Asian bankers only brought in US$600,000.

Banks are also being pickier with the bankers they hire – another measure to keep salaries in check.

“For good people with ten-plus years of experience and a good reputation, we are willing to pay total compensation in the seven digits,” Eduardo Leeman, CEO of Falcon Private Bank, told WSJ. “What I think is happening now is not every bank is willing to pay that.”

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