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Hedge fund hustle in Singapore

Singapore’s steaming hedge fund industry is stoking demand for talent.

When Trader Monthly magazine released its annual study of the world’s best-paid hedge fund managers earlier this year, there was only one Asian-based fund manager on its list. This could soon change.

“The hedge fund hiring market has been hot for the past two years – and it’s still hot,” says Gary Lai, head of the financial services division at recruitment firm Robert Walters’ Singapore office.

Recruiters estimate that they have hired between 20% and 25% more people for hedge funds over the last 12 months compared with the year before.

“The hedge fund industry in Singapore is actively hiring at the moment and that’s in both the front-office [trading, analysis and marketing] and back-end [clearing, settlements, operations],” says Stanley Teo, Michael Page’s head of financial services in Singapore.

According to Reuters, the Lion City is now the decision-making centre to 102 Asia-focused hedge funds. The news service estimates that US$25bn worth of hedge funds assets are now managed out of Singapore, with that figure expected to rise to US$100bn in three years.

Competition for hedge fund expertise is fierce – Teo says candidates moving from banking or from one hedge fund to another can often command pay hikes of 20% or more.

While salary ranges are wide, Lai says fresh graduates from top universities who land hedge fund roles can earn about S$40k per annum. People with five years’ experience in banking can typically command between S$85k and S$120k and candidates with eight or more years’ experience can earn north of S$160k. Combine this with bonuses equivalent to 40-50% of annual salaries for back-office roles and profit sharing and equity participation for more senior roles, and hedge fund professionals aren’t doing badly – even if they’re not raking in the billion dollar bonuses just yet.

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