OCBC now employs almost 30,000 people across Asia and its headcount continues to rise. But what does it take to get a job at the bank? And what should you know about careers and hiring there before you step into an interview? OCBC’s third-quarter earnings report provides some new clues, which we’ve summarised below.
Global corporate and investment banking is suddenly hot
OCBC isn’t all about retail and wealth – its attractiveness as an employer for corporate bankers and (to a lesser extent) investment bankers is on the rise. Year on year, OCBC’s global corporate/investment banking division grew its operating profit by an impressive 29% to $1.48bn in the first nine months. It was the highest increase of the bank’s six units and was “driven by net interest income growth and lower allowances”.
Are salary rises strong enough?
Staff costs per head at OCBC – total employee expenditure (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – rose by 4.5% ($2,793) year on year to reach $65,514 for the first nine months of 2018. That’s above the rate of inflation in Singapore, but well below the 10.4% increase enjoyed by UOB employees, who took home $71,633 on average. OCBC’s comparative parsimony may pose potential staff retention concerns if the firm continues to be outflanked on the salary front by both UOB and DBS.
Bank of Singapore continues to hire
OCBC’s private banking arm is now firmly established in the upper echelons of Asian wealth management. As of December last year, BoS was the seventh largest private bank in the region, managing more assets than the likes of Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, according to Asian Private Banker. OCBC’s results reveal a further 11% year-on-year uptick in AUM at BoS (for the first nine months), which has now hit a record high of US$105bn, driven by sustained net new money inflows. BoS has also been hiring this year, say headhunters, and it now plans to recruit six more bankers for a team set up in May to support independent asset managers.
Headcount is up 558…
OCBC’s headcount is now well on its way to reaching 30k. It now stands at 29,719 – up by 558 year on year. The rise isn’t as large as at UOB (which added 928 people to its payroll over the same period) but is still significant in a tight labour market.
…partly driven by technology
Like its local and global rivals in Singapore, much of OCBC’s recent hiring has been focused on technology. “Our technology and digital investments have strongly contributed to our franchise expansion,” says the bank’s Q3 report. Many of OCBC’s new tech recruits are working on emerging technologies, such as the roll out of a facial recognition system for its premier banking business.
Keep an eye on: OCBC Wing Hang
Want to move from Singapore to Hong Kong? Applying to OCBC Wing Hang may be the answer. OCBC’s Hong Kong franchise, which specialises in commercial banking, consumer financing, share brokerage and insurance, saw its operating profit rise 28% to $367m in the year to end September. Wing Hang’s traders appear to have had a good nine months – OCBC pinned some of the rise on higher trading income.
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