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Corporate banking RMs are still golden and popular in China, here’s why

Commercial banking relationship managers have been in red-hot demand on the mainland in the first-half of this year. Going forward, what is the outlook like for those in this front-office role? According to recruiters, that popularity looks set to continue, albeit on a smaller scale.

Daisy Chen, consultant at financial services of Robert Walters Shanghai, says: “There will be less demand in the latter half of the year. There was a hiring peak in March this year and lately we have seen some openings in treasury traders and sales. In the coming October and November, banks will plan next year’s hiring numbers.”

Robert Walters’ half-yearly market update have shown that commercial banking RMs were very popular earlier in 2011.Candidates with strong credit skills and client networks, experience in multiple products and the ability to manage corporate clients, were all highly sought-after. Also in demand were those who could increase the deposits base and cross-sell investment products to corporations.

Here are some reasons why the corporate banking RMs are perennially golden:

It’s business as usual on the mainland

Banks are still going ahead with their growth plans in China. Daisy Chen points out: “Some foreign banks have large cutbacks abroad, but in China, it’s not the same case. In the emerging market, global banks are still profitable, so there’s still demand.”

Foreign banks are constantly expanding with new branches opening in the second and third-tier cities. Hence the need for local talents is rising as well. Nico Chen, recruitment consultant from a US HR advisory firm in Shenzhen says: “The original talent pool is quite limited in these areas. Cities like Chengdu, Wuhan etc, all have great demand for the RM roles, and cities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen also have demand in the long term.”

It all boils down to the bottom line

Nico Chen says the RM role earns direct profits for the bank and “will always be needed”. Relationships with corporate clients are extremely lucrative. RMs work closely with clients to figure out existing cash management systems and then provide solutions for clients. The longer these clients are maintained, the higher the ROI will be, point out recruiters.

Talent development

This pool of talent can help boost talent development and mobility within banks. Nico Chen points out: “RMs that have team management experience, can be promoted to higher management position such as vice branch manager or transferred to middle or back-office functions.”

As RMs work with credit risk management teams, they understand client dynamics and can provide credit recommendations to the management.

Product innovation

The Chinese market is not yet mature, so RMs can potentially help facilitate product innovation especially in Chinese banks. RM can recognize the companies’ needs under the country’s credit and financial environment, and provide tailor-made solutions as well as pricing incentives to introduce new products successfully.

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