What you need to know about salaries and bonuses at HSBC in Hong Kong

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What you need to know about salaries and bonuses at HSBC in Hong Kong

How much will your salary and bonus be if you take a job at HSBC in Hong Kong? To find out, we analysed HSBC employee data from Glassdoor to produce the table below, which shows average HSBC base pay, alongside cash bonuses and total compensation.

We did this for four job ranks that the website had enough data for (there was no information, for example, about MD-level salaries at HSBC Hong Kong). The comp numbers are across job functions, so they don’t tell you how much you would earn working in, say, M&A. But they do provide some interesting broad insights into earnings at HSBC.

What are HSBC salaries and bonuses like in Hong Kong?

It’s a good idea (financially at least) to stick around at HSBC for about three years after your first graduate job at the bank. While average analyst base pay is only HK$336k, that figure almost doubles to HK$630k at associate level.

There’s less of a pay gap at HSBC in Hong Kong, meanwhile, between senior vice president and director level. But HSBC is generous to its directors when giving them cash bonuses. Average bonuses at the bank hover around the HK$100k mark up to SVP, but then suddenly jump to HK$325k for directors, reflecting the latter’s crucial role in front-office deal making.

If you want to be (very) well rewarded at HSBC, it pays to be a recipient of a guaranteed bonus. HSBC awarded US$20.1m in guaranteed bonuses and sign-on payments to 22 people joining its investment bank last year, according to its 2018 annual report. In 2017 it only paid out $11.4m. The report doesn’t mention who these newly minted people are, but it’s fair to assume that some of them are based in Hong Kong, given that HSBC locates many of its global and regional heads in the city.

You might also want to be among an elite group of material risk takers (MRT). Within global banking and markets, average pay per head globally for these people (who have a material impact on the bank's risk profile) was US$1.23m for 2018, up from US$1.22m a year earlier, according to HSBC's report.

Nevertheless, when it comes to rank-and-file investment banking salaries, HSBC is far from the best-paying bank in Hong Kong, say headhunters. “It doesn’t measure up against Goldman or JP Morgan or even Credit Suisse,” says one recruiter.

Goldman analysts, for example, take home HK$700k salaries on average – more that associates at HSBC, according to Glassdoor. This reflects Goldman’s focus on IB and HSBC’s status as a universal bank in Hong Kong. HSBC failed to make Dealogic’s top-10 for 2018 APAC IB revenue, while Goldman topped the table.

But, say HSBC insiders, you don’t necessarily join HSBC in Hong Kong to make big money. An analyst in HSBC’s global banking and markets team told us last year that the firm is “nicer, softer and less pushy than most other investment banks in Hong Kong, especially the US ones”.

When calculated on an hourly basis, HSBC’s pay potentially comes closer to that of its US rivals. While the analyst said his counterparts at J.P. Morgan and Morgan Stanley typically clock off at 2am, he hardly ever works into the morning.

Image credit: gionnixxx, Getty

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