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This is the fastest growing, most profitable place for bankers to work

Where to go now

Where to go now

Now that Goldman Sachs is retrenching from Brazil, the last remaining sacred cow of the investment-banking-revenue-growth mantra has been hobbled. Brazil isn’t where it’s all happening after all. But if Brazil’s not hot, where is?

Standard Chartered’s latest results, out today, suggest you might want to give Hong Kong a go. Failing that, try Africa.

Based upon results from Standard Chartered’s wholesale bank, we’ve ranked the fastest growing and most profitable countries/regions for bankers to work in below. Notably, Hong Kong – which Standard Chartered says it uses ‘as a hub into and out of China’ – offers high margins and high growth. By comparison, the ‘Other Asia Pac’ region – which includes Stan Chart’s business in China itself, doesn’t look so good. Income from Standard Chartered’s wholesale operations in mainland China fell 21% last year as a result of lower transaction volumes, tighter margins and spread compression in foreign exchange.

If Standard Chartered is anything to go by, Hong Kong therefore looks a far better bet than Shanghai. Singapore offers high margins, but low growth. The mature markets of Europe, the US and the UK are growing, but not that profitable. Africa is growing fastest of all, but margins aren’t that great.

It’s worth noting that HSBC’s results yesterday also showed Hong Kong surging ahead and China falling behind – profits before tax across HSBC rose 14% in Hong Kong and fell 24% in mainland China.

Top countries/regions to work in:

1. Hong Kong: 1st half revenues: $1.1bn. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: 13%. Operating margin: 61%.

2. Africa: 1st half revenues: $596m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: 24%. Operating margin: 46%.

3. India: 1st half revenues: $682m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: 20% Operating margin: 56%.

4. America, UK, Europe: 1st half revenues: $1.1bn. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: 7%. Operating margin: 45%.

Countries/regions to be avoided:

1. Other Asia Pac*: 1st half revenues: $890m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: -22.4%. Operating margin: 57%.

2. Korea: 1st half revenues: $325m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: -10%. Operating margin: 44%.

3. Singapore: 1st half revenues: $630m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: -8%. Operating margin: 50%.

4. Middle East and Other South Asia**: 1st half revenues: $735m. Percentage growth rate year-on-year: -3%. Operating margin: 58%.

* Other Asia Pac: China, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia.

** Middle East and Other South Asia: UAE, Pakistan

 

 

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