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Who’s hot in Hong Kong?

BarCap plans to add 1,500 staff in Asia in the next two years. That doesn’t mean Westerners can walk into jobs, however.

Financial News reports that the investment banking division of Barclays has big plans to increase headcount in Asia by 40% before 2010, with a focus on commodities, equity derivatives and e-commerce.

Growth won’t be restricted to Hong Kong. China, India, Korea, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and Pakistan are all cited as hot spots by Robert Morrice, chief exec of BarCap, Asia Pacific.

Although there’s no sign of the jobs on BarCap’s own recruitment website, recruiters in the region say the bank’s already primed them to look for candidates.

The bad news for anyone hoping to move East is that Westerners aren’t likely to be top of the list – unless they’re already working for BarCap.

“The first choice is typically to look internally and transfer. The second choice candidate will be working for a rival on the ground, and the third choice candidate will be an external hire from outside the region,” says the financial services head of one Asian recruitment firm.

30 Western CVs a week

Matthew Pecheur, executive director of search firm Options Group in Hong Kong, says they’re currently receiving 25 to 30 CVs from London and New York every week.

“There are people who’ve lost their jobs and want to restart out here, but a lot are still employed, disappointed in their bonuses, and think this is a good time to make the move,” says Pecheur.

He says those who are successful typically speak Mandarin or Cantonese, or have a prior link to the region.

But commodities is drawing in outsiders

When Citigroup rebuilt its Singapore-based Asian commodities team in 2006, everyone was either hired, or relocated, from New York and London.

The head of another HK recruitment firm says Western talent is still sought for commodities positions, but in most other sectors it’s become more common for VPs and below to be sourced locally.

Comments (15)

  1. “The first choice is typically to look internally and transfer. The second choice candidate will be working for a rival on the ground, and the third choice candidate will be an external hire from outside the region,” says the financial services head of one Asian recruitment firm.”

    That seems absolutely logical as candidates working for a rival firm will have the local knowledge. That said, if all the banks are expanding over there (which they are) then it seems that somebody wanting to move over will have a much better chance of employment than this article suggests.

  2. Well, Wachovia had a similar ambitious plan a couple of years ago in London…….

  3. F.I.L.T.H ?

  4. this is all crap talk. barcap and barclays are a mediocre house and a wannabe shop. if they were real players they wouldn’g go around trying to make money off in the dead waters of pakistan and vietname. As usual, undereducated and mediocre british talent trying to compete in a ultra competitive field. Get out of the way and let the pros do their job. in case you don’t remember, the days of the raj and well over.

  5. you don’t work at Peloton do you…angry young person….

  6. Hedgie, a good return is a good return, wherever it is. last year we made several 400% in Vietnam over 10 months. Money is still flowing in there.Investment banks are all interested by this market. I don’t know about BarCap, but all the US, UK and Swiss big names are there.
    You should not disregard the locals’skills (apart from Pakistan of course!). For sure, they still have a lot to learn, but (i) they are cheaper and (ii) they are incredibly willing to learn. I would add that you should not believe your job needs you to be that smart. It’s just about making money, and Vietnamese are good at that.
    Go to Saigon one day

  7. Sounds like hedgie really has no idea what he is going on about. If he really was such a BSD, as he seems to make out, would he be on a career website? I didn’t think so. Barclays is a significant house, and one that most people would prefer to work for rather, than 1 of 1000s of funds, many of which are closing down in the current climate. Good luck with that!

  8. why the investment bank does not recruit new graduates from business schools in US or UK and lots of them are Asians.

  9. Alex, you come across as ridiculously pompous. I would strongly recommend you open up your mind a little bit and consider the facts before you rubbish Pakistan locals’ skills. You’re writing off a market that gave the 2nd highest return (40%) in Asia ex Japan in 2007 all because you have no clue about it.

  10. Hedgie has obviously written this to provoke and see the ripples. Who in his/her right mind would actually contend that Barcap has become a serious competitor to the US houses?

  11. I really wonder that what kind of expansion strategy can it be carefullyleaving out Singapore and picking up Pakistan,Malyasia, Indonasia & Vietnam. I am not too excited at least

  12. call me what you want, but any house that thinks it can make money in pakistan should be have it’s management fired without any comp. Just remember nothern rock? well I hope not, but this level of stupidity of its crap management, maybe barclays is on the road to disaster.

  13. If you really think the finance profession does not need you to be smart and you will make money riding the markets, then you are exactly the sort of stupidity and mediocrity that barclays needs to get rid of. You have proven my point, and should get out of this profession before the likes of you go ahead and become the next Nick Leeson casualty. Go drive a taxi instead.

  14. Call me old fashioned but why would anybody in their right mind want to move to a marketplace thats growing 10%pa, has low taxes and is an hour or two flight time to some of the best beaches in the world?
    Uuumm! now you’ve got me thinking….

    Desperate Headhunter Reply
  15. I make money ‘riding the markets’, and I work for myself!

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