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Morning Coffee: Singaporean banks tipped to hire as RBS reportedly cuts

RBS set to axe jobs in Singapore

RBS gets out its axe in Asia

More details are emerging of the much anticipated RBS cut-backs in Asia – and in Singapore they look particularly savage. RBS is expected to announce on Thursday, when it releases its full-year results, that it plans to reduce its Singapore headcount to just 200, down from 2,800 at the end of 2014, according to anonymous sources quoted by Reuters.

As RBS mainly focuses on large corporate clients in Singapore, most of the reported job cuts will likely impact front-office, middle-office and operations roles in corporate banking. In talent-short functions such as relationship management, risk and compliance affected RBS employees should find themselves in demand in the job market. One recruiter we spoke to tips the three Singaporean banks, DBS, OCBC and UOB – all of whom are expanding their strong corporate platforms – to be interested in RBS staff. Citi and HSBC are other likely destinations.

These firms may be able to take on RBS talent below the current market rate. A flood of RBS candidates entering the job market could help drive down the large salary rises that have been common in client-facing and middle-office roles in Singapore over the past two years.

RBS employees working in purely back-office jobs will find it more difficult to get rehired – although some operations functions remain in demand, most are being offshored away from Singapore.

It is unclear at this stage which RBS jobs will remain in Singapore, although in January a source close to the bank told Bloomberg that: “RBS would probably keep some operations in Singapore offering clients dollar, euro and yen fixed-income products.”

Many RBS employees have been looking for new jobs for several weeks. When CEO Ross McEwan held a series of meetings in Singapore last month to consider ways to scale back the bank’s Asian business we reported that RBS staff were already contacting recruiters. The Singapore cuts are part of wider restructuring as RBS, 80% owned by the UK government, scales back globally in investment banking and focuses on its domestic market.


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