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Forget the front office: hot jobs behind the scenes in Hong Kong

Singapore isn’t the only Asian city showing an increase in back and mid-office hiring. Here are some Hong Kong job sectors which are looking rather hot.

Regional tax roles

Hong Kong is still the regional hub for most finance functions for the majority of international banks. Regional tax business-heads are usually based there, rather than Singapore. “There is a need for tax advisory teams to work closely with the front office on new products/transactions related to tax issues,” says Amy Ho, manager of banking and financial services, Ambition Hong Kong.

The pool of tax professionals from Big Four accountancy firms or law firms is also larger in Hong Kong than Singapore. “So the regional tax professionals can partner them as external advisors, and this also provides a source for the banks to recruit from,” adds Ho.

IT

An increasing need for tighter controls and regulations within the banks has seen a noticeable rise in demand for IT professionals in Hong Kong this year, comments James Carss, general manager, Hong Kong at Hudson.

“With ongoing enhancements and integrations across back, middle and front-office systems, there is a high demand for experienced project managers, business analysts and application developers. Low bonus payouts and more confidence in the market mean even candidates who are fairly happy in their jobs are interested in what the market has to offer,” he adds.

Compliance

There is continued recruitment of compliance professionals, especially people who have sales and trading, control room or investment banking exposure. As Hong Kong is the regional centre for many banks’ sales and trading floors, the need for product-compliance specialists remains strong, says Ho. Candidates with equity derivatives knowledge are in particular demand.

“Similarly, a number of banks have established regional control-room compliance teams based in Hong Kong. With the IPO market expected to pick up throughout the year, firms are also strengthening their compliance teams with ECM specialists,” she adds.

And finally…

There is also an increasing need for various types of finance candidates in HK, including legal-entity control, decision support and product control, according to Carss. “Many of these areas were quiet last year. Demand was often there, but banks really struggled to get the headcount approval. Now it is different, with a much faster turnaround for these individuals,” he adds.

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