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North Asia Financial Services Market Update

Posted on December 2020 By Abimanu Jeyakumar

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​2020 was a challenging year, fraught with pandemic, trade wars, and geopolitical upheaval. Not since the financial crisis of 2008 did we experience such turmoil in the financial sector. However, in Hong Kong and, more broadly, North Asia, our clients see extraordinary opportunities on the horizon. As 2020 ends, it is a time for every industry, including financial services, to reflect and to contemplate the future.

Quantitative Research and Trading Technology

Across the financial services industry, the pandemic made our clients realise the importance of technology. Digitalisation is now a huge priority, and those failing to act and adapt are being left behind. We saw a huge spike in demand for talent in the verticals of cloud, DevOps, cybersecurity and infrastructure.

In the quantitative fund market, we saw several large international players with an existing Asia presence continue to expand and diversify, seeking to entrench themselves in the Asia market, with new offices and/or new strategies. Many of these firms believe they have only scratched the surface of the potential alpha available in Asia, and they see their expansion in the region as the ultimate diversification of risk.

Global Market Sales & Trading

Recruitment was at a virtual standstill going into the first Asia lockdown, with banks announcing a stay on redundancies that resulted in huge obstacles to hiring. Luckily, H2 saw a swift recovery, as banks started to pull together, recognising the new normal, and moving ahead with their plans. Due to volatility and market volume this year, agency and Delta 1 desks in equity businesses, had their best ever results to report. Equity derivatives desks, however, saw some gains neutralised due to said tail risks, black swan events, and unexpected dividend cuts announced mid-year.

About this report

In the report, our thought leaders provide insights into their particular area of expertise. This report will cover market trends and hiring insights from below niche sectors:

  • Private Banking & Wealth Management

  • Corporate & Investment Banking

  • Investment Management

  • Global Market Sales & Trading

  • Middle Office

  • Quantitative Research and Trading Technology

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