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Hong Kong Financial Services Professionals Are Not Having Relocation To London - For Now

The British government has announced to give British National Overseas (BNO) passport holders a chance to settle in the UK. Eligible Hong Kong residents are now allowed to come to Britain for five years and ultimately apply for citizenship. However, recruiters have not yet received relocation to the UK enquiry from professionals.

Relocation to London - Let's Wait

Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings for North Asia"We have received no enquiries from Hong Kong citizens about relocating to London since the UK government first mooted a resettlement scheme in May. But this could change if Hong Kong’s political and economic climate takes a turn for the worse. The situation is ever-evolving, and I believe lots of financial services professionals in Hong Kong will wait and see what happens."

According to Selby Jennings Global Job Confidence Index Report, Europe financial services respondents are most negative about the economy. They are least confidence about job security compared to APAC and the US. While local British are not confident about their market, Hong Kong financial services professionals know relocation to the UK is not yet a good time:

  • Poor economic performance

    While Hong Kong GDP could shrink by 5% in 2020, UK is set for 11.5% economic contraction, which is the worst slump of any OECD country. 

  • In the midst of Covid-19

    Hong Kong, as one of the cities out of Covid-19. Majority offices are already back to work and normal. As of July 3, Hong Kong has total 1,243 infected cases, UK has total 283,757 cases. It has been 15 days run of no local Covid-19 cases for Hong Kong. 

  • No-deal Brexit

    There are renewed fears that a "no deal Brixit" might inflict further damage on the economy in 2021 and beyond

  • Higher tax rate

    Britain top tax rate is 45%. Hong Kong's highest band tax rate is 17%, which is 2.6 times lower than the UK.

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Other Relocation Obstacles

Although the door has been opened for Hong Kong citizen, there are concerns and obstacles that require time to think through. Hong Kong financial services professionals' careers tie to Asian markets and clients, moving to the UK means they need to start everything from scratch.

Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings for North Asia“Professionals such as front-office staff, from investment managers to sales traders, their value grows as their Asian networks and market experience grow, and leaving that behind to start from scratch in the UK would be incredibly daunting." 

Also, Hong Kong is a huge private banking centre, with more than 1 trillion in assets under management. This is a huge market for private bankers. They will only move if their clients shift their assets.

Furthermore, finance professionals have ongoing family and personal commitments in Hong Kong. It is just harder to move.

Relocation to Singapore

Recruiters are not receiving any enquiries yet for relocation to London. However, they have received enquiries for relocating back to Hong Kong from the US and Europe due to Covid-19. Some expats in Hong Kong are already chatting to recruiters about moving to Singapore. But to a lesser extent the UK, Europe and the US.

Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings for North Asia"There are instances of UK firms looking for Asia exposure, but it’s fairly rare. And if push came to shove, front-office people would look at Singapore before the UK."

Research before Relocation

Abimanu Jeyakumar, head of Selby Jennings for North Asia"If finance professionals are weighing up UK relocations in the future, they will factor in the comparative strengths of the London and Hong Kong job markets. How the security law is impacting Hong Kong’s status as a financial hub? Whether China’s plans to integrate Hong Kong into the Greater Bay Area initiative are bearing fruit for the banking sector, all these need to take into consideration.

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

Hong Kong job market will recover more quickly than in London. Before you decide to make a relocation decision, make sure you have done enough research and speak to market experts. Selby Jennings has 11 offices across the globe. Speak to us to understand more about the market.

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