Chinese banks are expanding their British business units to meet the needs of commercial and individual clients in the UK. This growth is in turn creating more UK-based employment opportunities.
As Chinese enterprises invest in the UK, students pour into local universities and wealthy individuals buy British properties, Chinese commercial banks are creating more banking services tailored towards UK-based Chinese.
So far, Bank of China, ICBC and China Construction Bank have already opened UK branches. China Merchants Bank and Agricultural Bank of China both intend to convert their representative offices into branches.
The UK makes a good base for Chinese banks with a strong desire to tap into European markets. “The rules are transparent and it is much quicker, particularly for their Chinese clients, to set up a business in the UK than in other European countries,” says Alistair Ramsbottom, managing director of The Blacklock Group.
“Interestingly, Bank of China is now offering UK mortgages/housing loans and the rate is very competitive compared with most domestic banks,” comments Oliver Draper, director, Consult Group.
Bank of China would appear to be the most progressive recruiter, especially for its retail business. “It’s hiring customer service staff, and lending and mortgage marketing officers. China Construction Bank is also hiring corporate banking and trade finance managers,” says Draper.
In terms of recruitment strategy, Ramsbottom says it is likely that most senior positions will be transferred from China, with middle-level employees recruited locally to fill operational and general banking roles.
Draper agrees: “For instance, the CEO and deputy CEO of China Construction Bank are Chinese, but the head of trade finance and the senior executive of corporate banking are from Landsbanki and Bank of Scotland respectively.”
He says candidates generally need to demonstrate proficiency in both English and Mandarin when applying for junior and mid-level positions at British branches, which gives Chinese living in the UK a clear competitive advantage.
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