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Morning Coffee: Singaporean banks set for regional hiring drive, says Fitch

Singaporean banks set for regional hiring drive, says Fitch

Set for more growth

Singaporean banks have focused much of their recruitment efforts over the past year on expanding overseas in markets like China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and India. And the foreign hiring spree shows no signs of abating, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings.

Expanding regionally is a “natural development” for DBS, OCBC and UOB given the size limitations of the domestic market and open nature of Singapore’s economy, Fitch said. The strategy also allows them to benefit from cross-border trade, greater integration of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and rising regional incomes.

Fitch also identified some key sectors in which the three Singaporean banks are likely to expand in regionally, which suggest where potential future vacancies may be focused: “wealth management, bankassurance, payments and transactions, and capital-markets services”.

However, the rating agency also highlighted the risks involved in the banks’ overseas growth. “Growing offshore operations – in foreign currency and in countries with more variable credit cycles – may challenge the banks’ historical funding, asset quality and regulatory oversight strengths.”

There’s another big challenge not mentioned in the Fitch report, however: finding talent in emerging Asian markets. “Trying to grow your headcount fairly quickly in markets like China and Indonesia is always more difficult than it is at home – the talent base is less developed,” says a recruiter in Singapore we spoke with yesterday.

Over the past year, DBS grew its headcount by 7.36%, OCBC by 15.56% and UOB by 2.2%, according to their half-year reports.


Standard Chartered poaches Greater China DCM head from RBS. (Finance Asia)

Standard Chartered will stay in UK as new chief rules out move to Asia. (The Telegraph)

China’s top bank regulator says bad loans surge. (Reuters)

DBS overtakes long-time leader OCBC in bancassurance. (Business Times)

Credit Suisse says Chinese equities have returned to fair value. (Bloomberg)

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