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Morning Coffee: Eight things to know about overseas jobs at Singaporean banks

Eight things to know about overseas jobs at Singaporean banks

Jobs all over Asia

If you want a job at a Singaporean bank you increasingly have more options outside Singapore itself. As we reported in April, more than half of DBS staff are now based overseas and Broker KGI Fraser Securities noted in a March report that all three local banks – DBS, OCBC and UOB – need to expand abroad to counter Singapore’s slowing economic growth.

The Today newspaper has now outlined how the banks are planning their expansions – and we’ve highlighted eight of the key careers-related conclusions from the report.

1. Infrastructural financing is a significant growth area across Asia – expect all three banks to be hiring. The Asia Development Bank has estimated that countries in Asia need US$8 trillion to cover infrastructure needs between 2010 and 2020.

2. While Singaporean banks are building in countries including India, Indonesia, Malaysia and even Myanmar – Greater China (the mainland plus Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan) is their key overseas market for expansion (read, recruitment).

3. If you have contacts within China’s corporate sector and cross-border experience, consider yourself sought after by Singapore’s banks. “Resource-rich countries such as Indonesia are naturally attractive investment destinations for Chinese companies. This means we serve not just the onshore needs of our customers in each Greater China market. As importantly, we address their cross-border and offshore needs in South-east Asia,” OCBC Bank Group CEO Samuel Tsien told Today.

4. OCBC plans to “deepen its presence” in Malaysia and Indonesia, and connect North- and South-east Asia. The jobs it will create in the process appear to be spread across several divisions. “We bring our core businesses of retail and commercial banking, wealth management and insurance to each market, underpinning these businesses with our core competencies in risk management, a diversified funding base and continued investments in technology and people,” says Tsien.

5. Those with experience dealing with Western investors may like to apply to UOB. “Intra-regional trade in Asia will remain integral to the region’s economic growth. But, we also see a rise in inbound investment in Asia from Europe and America,” the bank’s group head of global strategy, Ian Wong, told Today.

6. Experience in the Chinese currency, the yuan, is an increasing advantage if you work at a Singaporean bank. “With the currency becoming one used for payments, foreign direct investment, overseas direct investment and individual savings, and a reserve currency for about 40 countries, banking opportunities abound,” reports Today.

7. Don’t expect the expansion of Singaporean banks to be particularly quick or straight forward. “[In China] There are loads of approval processes, besides competition from domestic banks,” PwC Singapore’s banking and capital markets leader Karen Loon told Today. Overseas growth would “largely be organic, considering increased regulatory pressure and political issues”, she added.

8. Target wholesale banking jobs at Singapore banks. Loon says the wholesale sector should be a “lot easier” for Singaporean banks to gain an overseas foothold in compared to retail banking. In Chinese retail banking all three firms lag far behind the likes of HSBC, Standard Chartered and Bank of East Asia.


Accounting and finance jobs are the toughest to fill of any in Singapore, says new survey. (Straits Times)

UOB Asset Management has been awarded a Renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor licence. (Straits Times)

Italian prosecutors want to indict the Bank of China’s Milan branch and almost 300 people over a money-laundering scheme. (BBC)

DBS tops list of most influential brands in Singapore. (Marketing Interactive)

Hong Kong IPOs continue to boom, despite volatile markets. (Finance Asia)

HSBC becomes Swiss Re’s custodian bank in China. (Reuters)

Indonesia regulator may ease foreign ownership rules for Islamic banks. (Reuters)

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