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Structured credit jobs suffer in Asia

Thinking of migrating to Asia to escape redundancies in the London structured credit market? Think again.

Last week yields on three-month deposits in China and India plummeted as investors withdrew money from local money market funds and credit derivatives.

Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas, told the Telegraph events were a “severe warning sign”. He said: “Asia ignored the credit crunch in August but now we’re seeing the poison beginning to paralyse the whole global economy.”

Hiring crunch

Local recruiters confirm that Asian structured credit hiring is starting to suffer: “There is a demand at a junior level but the market is severely crippled,” says Jeremy Canning, Singapore country head for Morgan McKinley. “There is no end customer client business of note, and resources are not being deployed to the sector.”

Despite reports that hedge funds are sniffing around local markets, recruiters say this won’t influence hiring strategies.

“It may be that hedge funds are bottom fishing in the Asian structured credit space, but I doubt banks will hire any time soon: they are top heavy,” says John Jessen, founding partner of headhunters Smith & Jessen.

The uncertainty has already taken away the bargaining power bankers had during salary negotiations. “Salaries are way off the February highs where these chaps could have named their price,” reports Canning.

“At bonus time, even good performers will be under-paid due to depleted bonus pool allocations in the context of unprecedented losses,” adds Jessen.

Internal moves the only option

If you still aspire to work in Asia, your best bet will be to make the leap internally. Jessen says banks on the Continent are predicting a 10-15% increase in regional headcount in 2008 as a result of redeploying staff away from Europe and the US. “The over-supply of bankers in London may flow eastwards,” he believes. “Some credit people may be converted into other areas, including commodity derivatives, equities, FX and rates, as well as principle finance and public and private financing.”

Comments (5)

  1. I do not get these articles, I think they are pointless. Who is the professional willing to relocate to Asia from London?? If you are Asian, you may have a reason. But if you are not Asian, are you really so desperate to move to Asia just because your market after 5 glorious years is having a tough moment?? How desperate must you be? I understand the labour market is more flexible these days, but I cannot imagine hundreds of Europeans or Americans escaping London or New York to have a career and life in Tokyo or Hong Kong.

  2. Anon – hate to say it but as a structured credit headhunter in the Asia Pac market I have had a steady flow of ABS / MBS people from mainly NY but also London contact me who have suddenly developed an interest in Asia. Never underestimate the herd mentality of the majority of market participants.

    Anon, Executive Search Reply
  3. Anon, Executive Search, I have been in this market for years and I dont know anyone apart from 2 people (both Asian, wanted to come back to their continent) who moved to Asia from a structured finance field. You are dreaming

  4. Anon, Credit – I’m based in HK, and I think you’re totally clueless. Don’t talk about what you don’t know. I agree with Anon (exec search), the number of foreign expats flowing into Asia is huge, and not just in the area of credit. It’s about the total package – low taxes, much better standard of living, and you have an accelerated career path out here. Why be a small cog in a large team when you can have have a lot more opportunity for progression in Asia. I know…I’ve been there and do know what I’m talking about.

  5. reinsurance bond strucurer: I mean this is ridcoulous, one bad year and all the hiring is the main issue around….gimme a break after 5 years of unprecendented bonueses it is high time the credit bankers have a bad year..i dont hear anyone complaining when bonuses are good…in years when they were creating the subprime mess that we all are seeing..

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