If you’re a corporate banker in Hong Kong, it’s good to know how your salary and bonus stack up against what other banks are paying.
We asked eight recruitment agencies in Hong Kong to provide 2017 base pay and bonus data for relationship managers in corporate banking.
We then averaged out the firms’ figures to create the table below, which shows how much Hong Kong corporate bankers are typically earning in 2017 across five seniority ranks (analyst to managing director).
The salary levels in our table owe much to the most recent hiring boom in corporate banking – 2010 to 2012 – when a competitive job market helped to push up pay, says John Mullally, director of financial services at recruiters Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
More recently, global banks in Hong Kong have been shedding underperforming RMs and there’s been enough talent on the market to meet banks’ needs. If you change banks, expect a pay rise of about 10% to 12%, says Jack Leung, a business director at recruiters Hays. That’s a far cry from the increments of 20% or more experienced earlier in the decade.
“The last year has been fairly abysmal for pay rises, especially at international banks,” says Aditya Dangi, a consultant at recruitment firm Selby Jennings in Hong Kong. “We don’t foresee any significant upward pressure on pay for the rest of the year,” adds Ivan Lam, an associate director at recruiters Morgan McKinley.
Top-performing RMs, however, can earn more than the market average and still snare decent pay rises. But demand is now focused on RMs with mainland corporate clients rather than local or multi-national ones. “People with large books of Chinese clients are best positioned when it comes to pay negotiations,” says Mullally from Robert Walters.
Global corporate banks in Hong Kong – the likes of Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered – still tend to pay higher salaries than their Asian rivals. But Asian firms are currently recruiting more aggressively and can offer better potential bonuses. “Bonuses for Chinese, Singaporean and Japanese banks in Hong Kong continue to be competitive. They have higher bonus ranges than US and European banks,” says Leung from Hays.
Compared with two years ago, however, bonuses for 2016 were down across the board, says Lilian Yeung, a senior consultant at recruitment company Michael Page in Hong Kong. As our table shows, analysts received bonuses of 20% on average, while directors got double that percentage.
There are some signs of a recovery in 2017. Redundancies and high attrition levels have left most international banks stretched in terms of staff numbers, says Dangi from Selby Jennings. “Lower headcounts mean better performance per head is expected this year, and there’s pressure on banks to retain staff, so bonuses for 2017 could be better than last year,” he adds.
Image credit: PashaIgnatov, Getty