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Morning Coffee: Hong Kong banker says “horrendous” market means you won’t get a big bonus

There’s just no need for a big bonus this year, says top Hong Kong banker

Just don't ask

We may still be several weeks away from the start of the bonus season for Hong Kong investment bankers, but speculation about the size of their bonuses has already begun.

The head of an Asian equity business, speaking anonymously to the Financial Times, says banks are now under less pressure than in recent years to pay bountiful bonuses to retain employees. “People want to keep their good people but there is no pressure that [they] will be poached. Generally banks feel that they don’t need to [pay up] this year.” The banker described second-half market revenues in Asia as “horrendous”, further reducing competition for staff.

Recent redundancies at Standard CharteredBarclays and Deutsche Bank have also helped to reduce banks’ motivations to give generous bonuses. As we noted last week, costly senior bankers in Hong Kong are increasingly being laid off – so those that remain will be more worried about keeping their jobs than getting a big payout.

Meanwhile, the bonus gap between bottom and top performers is set to increase further still, Justin McLennan, a specialist in equity market hires at headhunters Pelham in Hong Kong, told the FT. He expects only the best bankers to achieve bonus rises of 10% to 20% over last year. “From a team of ten there may be one or two people in that bracket.”


Edmund Koh becomes first Singaporean to become President of UBS Asia Pacific. (Channel News Asia)

OCBC Bank names David Cheng as new corporate finance head. (Straits Times)

Credit Suisse can now be a brokerage in China. (Reuters)

China allows three central banks and four international financial institutions into its forex market. (Finance Magnates)

Ex-Barclays boss says there’s a 50/50 chance you won’t have a banking job in 10 years. (BBC)

But you might if you work in these five banking jobs. (Singapore Business Review)

Citic Securities and Guosen Securities are under investigation for suspected violations of Chinese securities law. (South China Morning Post)

How to break into Indonesian banking. (Today)

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