Booming Aussie markets attract expats

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Australia's equity, debt and foreign exchange markets have surged over the past few years, creating opportunities for senior Aussie bankers who left the country to work abroad.

"We are starting to see Australian expats returning to the Sydney market due to its increasing influence in the region," Matthew McCloghry, Sydney based partner at Anton Murray Consulting, tells

"While traditionally, candidates would look at a lower level role, they are now seeing an opportunity, off the back of strong equity and debt markets, to take senior positions. Previously this hasn't been the case," McCloghry says. "However, it's still a case of Aussies returning to the country to take the lifestyle option," he adds.

Between 2000 and 2005, the market capitalization of Australia's equity market jumped 123% to US$592bn, according to the annual benchmarking report from AXISS, the financial services division of Invest Australia. Hong Kong's equity market capitalization actually fell 6% to $299bn. Singapore's market remained flat at $94bn.

Over the same period, the outstanding Australian domestic debt securities market climbed 112% while Hong Kong's rose 14% and Singapore was up 64%.

Meanwhile, between 2001 and 2004, AXISS noted that foreign exchange turnover in Australia grew 56% while Hong Kong's rose 52% and Singapore 24%.

But Hong Kong-based Andrea Williams, director of the finance team, at recruitment firm Ambition, says the AXISS statistics for Hong Kong and Singapore may be misleading because they include the poor years after 9/11 and the SARS health fears.

Asia is now booming, according to Williams. "It is recognized that future growth and potential now lies in Asia," she tells us. "Access to China is a massive driver for businesses across the globe and Hong Kong is seen as the gateway to those opportunities...(and)...if you compare this to what might be available in an established and highly competitive market like Oz, there is no comparison."

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