HSBC's best Hong Kong jobs are not what you might expect

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HSBC's best Hong Kong jobs are not what you might expect

If you want to work in a ‘safe’ part of HSBC right now, it’s best to avoid working in Europe, which is expected to bear the brunt of the bank’s new plans to slash an additional 10,000 jobs globally. Asia, where HSBC generates about 80% of its profits, is expected to get off lightly. If you want to be extra secure at HSBC in Asia, the firm is ploughing ahead with ambitious hiring plans in wealth management. It’s also recruiting in Asian transaction banking and wants to expand across the board in Singapore.

In Hong Kong, there’s another growth area for hiring at HSBC: technology. Almost one in five of the current Hong Kong-based vacancies on HSBC’s careers site are for technology, digital or analytics jobs. Although HSBC employs more technologists in India and China, Hong Kong is one of its main hubs for front-office development. In contrast, there are only three tech openings at HSBC in Singapore right now.

HSBC increased its spending on “digital capabilities” during the first half, a key part of an overall 17% year-on-year rise in investments to $2.2bn, according to its H2 results. Many of the jobs within HSBC’s Operations, Services and Technology (HOST) department in Hong Kong are focused on its massive retail and commercial banking businesses locally, regionally and globally. They include data analysts, project managers, solutions architects, cyber security managers and other tech roles which are generally in demand across the banking sector.

Jobs working on retail mobile platforms appear to be particularly in demand at HSBC. During the first half of the year HSBC “introduced over 90 new features” to improve online and mobile banking, and its Hong Kong-based PayMe app had 1.6m users, according to its H2 earnings report.

However, arguably the two most interesting (and senior) HSBC technology jobs in Hong Kong are in….equities trading technology. HSBC is hiring a head of algos trading platform. Significantly, this is a global role – so it’s a comparatively rare opportunity for a current APAC head to land an international job without having to leave Hong Kong. Moreover, it’s a newly created position, suggesting that more hiring in algo trading might be on the cards.

In this job, which sits within cash electronic technology, you will lead the engineering teams that build, maintain and support HSBC’s global algo platform. You should expect to work with front-office staff in “cash high touch trading, low touch trading, mission control and cash quant areas”, according to HSBC’s careers site.

HSBC also wants an APAC head of equities production practice in Hong Kong. You’ll be helping to lead a “globally distributed” team, spanning multiple product lines in equity derivatives, prime finance, cash equities and electronic trading. You’ll also be forming direct relationships with trading desks and using “containerisation, micro services and cloud infrastructure” to enable engineering teams to build and operate their platforms.

If you want to join the equities production team at HSBC at a less senior level, it’s likely that other jobs will open up in the near future. One of the main tasks of the new APAC head is to “grow” the team.

HSBC’s expected expansion in equities technology in Hong Kong may not be entirely straightforward, however, because many of its rivals want the same sort of candidates. JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, UBS and Bank of America, for example, are all hiring developers to work on equities systems in Asia, as the region plays catch-up in e-trading.

“Asia has historically lagged behind the US and Europe in the automation of markets activities,” former equities trader Warwick Pearmund, now an associate director at Pure Search, told us previously. “But banks are now hiring technologists in Hong Kong because this gap is closing rapidly, not only to fit in with global automation trends, but also to take advantage of regional initiatives such as China’s Stock Connect with Hong Kong,” he adds.

The Asian equities market became more “electronified” last year, according to a report released in January by Greenwich Associates. Financial institutions expect single-stock electronic trading alone to comprise 49% of their Asia (ex-Japan and Australia) execution volume within three years, the report states.

Image credit: Tsuji, Getty

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