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Subcontinental drift

Time to move East? Financial services jobs and pay in India are soaring.

“The market here is on fire,” says Ronesh Puri, managing director of the New Delhi office of search firm Executive Access. “Salaries are rising anything from 30% to 40% a year – it’s not unusual for someone to receive two, or even three pay rises in a 12-month period.”

Goldman Sachs recently announced plans to grow its Indian broking and investment banking operations, and Puri says it’s far from the only one: “Every bank is skilling up over here.”

Which sectors are hottest? Try corporate finance, private equity and real estate for starters. Puri says demand is “huge” for real estate investment managers, with Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs all hiring. Blackstone, the US private equity company, founded a local office back in 2005 and plenty of others have followed in its footsteps – private equity investment in the country tripled last year to some US$7.46bn.

Fund management is also on the way up – both Axa Investment Managers and Nikko Asset Management have recently signed joint ventures to begin operating in the subcontinent. And equity capital markets aren’t exactly doing badly either – late last year, two of India’s construction companies announced flotation plans amounting to a combined US$3bn.

Rapid growth is exerting a powerful allure over bankers looking for a piece of the emerging markets action – Puri reports receiving CVs from Hong Kong, Singapore, London and New York: “Everyone wants Indian experience on their CV. The money can be good and there’s a lot of excitement to be had working in this market.”

Puri says a vice president in investment banking can command a base salary anywhere between US$100k and $150k, plus a 300% bonus, while a real estate investment manager can earn up to $500k.

With lower living costs and tri-annual pay rises, India’s bankers have plenty to smile about.

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