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Hong Kong RMs still in demand despite unrest

Salaries of relationship managers and product specialists at private banks in the SAR are expected to increase by 14-25%, according to a survey.
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Hong Kong has had a difficult year as it has slipped into recession and remains fragile due to six months of social unrest, heavily affecting the SAR’s trade and tourism industries.

During the third quarter of 2019, Hong Kong’s economy contracted by 3.2%, and it is expected that the overall economic growth this year will be -1.3%, according to data from the government.

Overall, Hong Kong’s job market has been affected, and the expected salary increment when changing jobs has dropped to 10-15% in 2020 compared to 10-20% in 2019, according to a survey conducted by executive recruitment firm Robert Walters.

“Companies are more cautious when hiring and hesitate to look into a long-term hiring plan,” Ricky Mui, the firm’s Hong Kong-based managing director, said in the report.

“Hiring processes are foreseen to be lengthened and additional interview stages will be added as employers are more insistent on candidates with specific skill sets.”

The financial services industry was also hit, with a slowdown in hiring for trading and equity-related financial services roles.

However, one area that should remain strong is private banking. The recruitment firm believes that private banks and wealth managers have continued hiring despite the macro-economic difficulties.

From the employee side, “private bankers and relationship managers with a significant book of business are in particularly high demand”, the report said.

According to the report, the minimum salaries of relationship managers and product specialists with one-to-eight years of experience are expected to increase next year. (For asset management salaries, see below).

Asset management salaries
Source: Robert Walters. Does not included bonuses.

Besides the private and wealth management industries, the fintech sector is expected to continue hiring staff, especially after the Hong Kong Monetary Authority granted virtual banking licences to eight firms this year, according to the report.

It also noted that 88% of fintech professionals surveyed in Hong Kong are optimistic about job opportunities in 2020.

“With the issue of eight virtual banking licences, the demand for specialists ranging from C-level to managers has been on the rise in all areas of finance, legal, technology, risk and compliance, as well as operational and human resources roles.

“This has been the backbone of financial services hiring over the last 12 months and we expect to see strong growth in this area in 2020,” the report said.

Asset management and hedge fund salaries in Hong Kong

Asset management and hedge fund salaries in Hong Kong
Source: Robert Walters. Does not included bonuses.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.