In the first half of 2020, Hong Kong was facing a year-long political situation followed by the global pandemic COVID-19. Compliance vacancy numbers were down about 30% year-on-year as banks froze hiring, says Ian Yeung, middle-office team lead at Selby Jennings, in an interview with eFinancial Careers.
However, as banks grapple with the new American sanctions regime and the national security law, compliance professionals in Hong Kong are in increasing demand. The US sanctions prevent banks from doing business with 11 top-ranking government officials in Hong Kong. But complying with them risks banks falling foul of the security law, which forbids sanctions or hostile actions against Hong Kong and mainland China.
Compliance Is Now In-Demand
According to Bloomberg, both Western and mainland lenders banks in Hong Kong have already begun their compliance preparation work. And no doubt, this has increased the workloads of the teams at the likes of Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered. Because of so, compliance hiring budget and headcount have been loosening up.
"Since July, compliance hiring has picked up substantially. Banks are now able to try to hit their planned headcount numbers for 2020," says Ian Yeung. “Compliance, in comparison to other middle back-office functions, is now relatively strong."
The Compliance Job Market
While banks can ill afford not to replace staff who leave, Financial crime compliance (FCC) specialist with knowledge of Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rules are in demand. Take an example to look at Standard Chartered, while they were having frozen hiring for most jobs in March, now we can see Hong Kong-based FCC vacancies on its careers website.
On the other hand, within FCC, much of the recruitment is for anti-money laundering (AML) and countering the financing of terrorism (CFT) positions.
“Demand remains high in these functions due to the small talent pool available in Hong Kong,” says Ian Yeung," but for some other areas in FCC, such as transaction monitoring and client onboarding, where processes can be automated via artificial intelligence, the teams across international banks are contracting.£
To read the original article, please visit eFinancial Careers.
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