The Chinese New Year holidays are over. Ready to kick start your job search as we enter the comparatively busy season for hiring?
To find out which skills in Asian banking will be most in demand as the Year of the Monkey begins, we’ve asked recruiters to name the hottest roles on their books right now.
“It’s a strong area of recruitment in Singapore due to Singapore's status as both a financial and trading hub. And trade finance is one of the most fundamental and stable areas for banks in Asia,” says Lynne Roeder, managing director of recruiters Hays in Singapore. But why are banks still hiring in trade finance even as Asian economic grow stalls? The candidate pool is still not large enough to meet demand, explains Roeder.
Credit analysts are in demand in both corporate and investment banking, says Candy Choong, a sales manager at recruitment firm Selby Jennings in Singapore. “Most banks in Asia are looking to expand their credit teams as they continue to boost corporate lending transactions across the region,” she says. “But the market is currently well equipped with qualified candidates, so you must go that extra mile by further enhancing your skills. For example, there are a growing number of requests for candidates with CFA and FRM certifications for regional or cross-industry coverage roles.”
If you’ve lost your equities trading job in Asia recently (and you don’t mind moving to the middle-office), you may be a good fit in this function. “Business risk people effectively provide and implement a supervisory framework for the bank’s first line of defence,” says Richard Aldridge, a director at recruitment company Black Swan Group in Singapore. “It’s not a new role in US banks in Asia, but we’re now seeing the job rolled out across all business lines and all types of banks in the region, driven by regulatory demands. Candidates have mixed backgrounds: the front-office, advisory compliance, internal audit, or other risk specialisms.”
“There will be sustained appetite for in-house product lawyers at banks in Hong Kong to support markets businesses and wealth platforms,” says Chris Jackson, director of risk and governance at Pure Search in Hong Kong. “Lawyers are also needed for regulatory work on global derivatives reform and the implementation of the Dodd Frank Act, EMIR and equivalent Asian regulations, as well as to advise on market conduct and transparency requirements (MiFID II and MiFIR)”.
Banks will be staffing up with financial reporting professionals in the Year of the Monkey, especially those with regional expertise. “As a bi-product of Singapore’s development as an Asian hub, more and more reporting roles encompass regional and cross-border reporting,” says Roeder from Hays. “I expect to see heightened demand in financial reporting, with technical accounting and IFRS reporting skills highly sought after.”
Several foreign banks – notably Credit Suisse (hiring 600) and HSBC (growing in the Pearl River Delta) – are still expanding in the mainland this year. But a slowing local economy means banks will need more business development staff to help them eke out opportunities in China. “BD roles are essential in finding out about untapped resources in China and clinching deals,” says Roeder. “Tenacity and product knowledge are key in sustaining banks’ financial growth in China.”
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