Control room compliance
Control room compliance and conflict clearance is an area that banks, particular in Hong Kong, are looking to hire in, says Mark Moorby, senior consultant, banking and financial services, Ambition. “This is driven by increased activity in their investment banking arms, and the importance of establishing and maintaining Chinese walls to ensure sensitive information is not passed between the advisory and sales/trading arms of banks.”
Many firms are establishing Hong Kong as their Asian hub for control room compliance, part of a global network which can provide coverage to the business 24 hours a day. Although English is the main language required for these roles, Moorby says additional language skills, in particular Mandarin and Japanese, are highly sought after.
Investment banks have been building up their product control teams for the last nine months due to an increase in trading volumes and front-office headcounts across all product areas, says Devi Kumar, manager banking and finance, Charterhouse Partnership.
“With the increased requirements placed on product controllers, banks are onboarding junior or recently qualified accountants from the Big Four with a financial services client base and training them up to do the P&L generation,” says Kumar. For more senior positions, where a higher level of knowledge and technical expertise is required, firms remain selective in their hiring and are still promoting people internally.
Back-office change management
Strategic transformation and change across operations, finance and technology is one of the key areas of investment for global financial institutions. Due to this investment there is an increased appetite to hire experienced change managers to generate, implement and manage new initiatives, says Kate Harper, manager, investment banking operations, Connected Group.
“The shortage of strong change managers with both Asia and product/business-aligned experience remains an issue. Businesses continue to home grow, but overseas hiring remains a key source for talent. Some investment banks are highlighting an interest in consultants with no investment banking experience who are said to bring fresh eyes to old challenges,” says Harper.
Demand for ECM analysts is high primarily due to the rising number of IPOs listing in Hong Kong, says Jared Ng, consulting director, PeopleSearch. “In addition, most investment banks froze hiring last year and as a result the demand for good analysts has become even greater than the talent pool.”
To alleviate the shortage, internal transfers from Europe and North America have become common in this job function, as has aggressive external hiring at a mid to senior level.