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​Hong Kong and Singapore Remain Potentially Attractive Workplace for Bankers

Posted on July 2020

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eFinancial Careers has put a closer look to HSBC to under the talent shift in the banking industry. With different reasons and new announcements from the bank, Hong Kong and Singapore remain potentially attractive workplace for bankers to transfer over the next 12 months.

Bank's Strategies Make Asia an Attractive Workplace

Not long ago, HSBC has announced on the plan of 35,000 job cuts that focuses on Western markets. Which arguably makes an internal transfer to Asia. This opens up career opportunities for the Asia market. Moreover, the bank wants to redeploy about $100bn in risk-weighted assets from Europe and the US to Asia, where it already makes about 90% of its profit, by 2022. As a result, opportunities all lay down for Asia countries such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

European & American Bankers Wants to Join Asia Attractive Workplace

While HSBC opens up opportunities to the Asia market, no doubt that bankers in London, Paris or elsewhere in Europe are eyeing up relocation to Hong Kong or Singapore.  Meanwhile, a senior British banker in HSBC has shared with eFinancial Careers that there are a lot of "high paid" foreigners in Hong Kong office. In short, many of his London colleagues would still move to Hong Kong to be part of the group. Ultimately, tax and lifestyle in Hong Kong is very attractive to the expatriates. Hong Kong has all the criteria as an attractive workplace for bankers.

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Limitation for Expats to Join the Attractive Workplace

Above all, securing such transfer is not that easy anymore. With pandemic, travel is limited and globally lots of main cities are going through the lockdown. Expatriates are almost suspended. In addition, this type of expatriates headcount will need senior approvals now. Further, businesses are also not ready to commit due to cost savings made necessary by COVID.

Local Talent Can Fill Up Attractive Workplace

There are plenty of local executives in Asia who can step up and fill up these opportunities. HSBC also has a very strong talent development programme, which provides a platform to develop local talent to take up the spots. At a recent interview, we have covered that more banks in Hong Kong are transferring their senior management to China. Likewise, similar talent development programme required to gear up local talent, and relocate them for bigger responsibilities roles.

One key differentiation from local talent to expatriates is the local language skills. Even good calibre expatriates moved over to Asia, without being able to converse with Chinese clients in Mandarin will be a missed of opportunities. Recent HSBC's hiring plan on 500 more staff needed in Asia by 2022 will automatically skipped the expatriates' talent pool due to the focus on driving in wealth management and private banking. Not just because of the limitation on mandarin, but as well they are lack of regional clients.

“Jobs here remain attractive for expat bankers, but the Hong Kong job market is localising, so bankers who have cultural and language competencies for the Asian region are becoming even more sought after. The bulk of hiring in Hong Kong at VP to MD comes from regional hires,” says Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings for North Asia.

To read the original full article, please visit eFinancial Careers.

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