Relationship Managers – These candidates are counted on to manage existing corporate accounts as well as to bring in new ones. When recruiting, the emphasis will be on China corporate client accounts and experience.
Transaction Banking Specialists - These product specialists work together with Relationship Managers to promote specific products to clients, such as cash management or trade finance, and they are in high demand.
Credit Approval – As the frontline grows, banks need more credit approvers to review and assess the risk of new and existing business.
Compliance and operational risk - 2014 will be another robust year for compliance and operational risk, as banks and financial institutions face regulatory pressure locally and globally as part of the stabilisation agenda in the industry. An uptick in terms of job creation in operational risk has already been noted, as opposed to compliance, where new roles are less numerous than in 2012-13, but live jobs remain stable due to candidates moving around the market.
Private banking has been rather buoyant and this year things are not expected to slow down, therefore compliance professionals who have covered this segment are expected to be sought after. General compliance and AML are leading the way in terms of popular job titles.
On-boarding – On-boarding roles will remain popular and are expected to be the new ‘superstars’ in middle/back office, especially in corporate and commercial banking, where many players are consolidating their KYC teams and are now increasingly interested in hiring mid-to-senior candidates with a relevant mix of business exposure and middle or back office skills.
Control room candidates – These candidates are in short supply locally, therefore the top talent at managerial (and above) level commands higher salaries than in previous years. Exposure to Asian markets is often mandatory for these roles.
Corporate banking recruitment activity continues to be high in this sector with new headcounts being created by both established players in the region as well as newer foreign and Chinese banks trying to establish Hong Kong as their hub for Asia.
Transactional banking and product specialist vacancies are evident as they ride parallel to the corporate banking roles, specifically cash and trade products. Credit openings were fairly quiet in 2013 and we expect there to be more opportunities in this area in 2014 to match business growth.
Meanwhile, in investment banking we have seen a slight increase in the number of newly created jobs. There is still a steady flow of candidates in most areas due to previous redundancies and reorganisation plans. In IBD most vacancy activity is to replace departing staff at the analyst or associate level, and candidates need strong cross-board deals experience.
We are seeing a large increase in demand for contract trade support and middle office professionals within the financial services sector. We expect the contract market in Hong Kong will continue to grow in response to permanent headcount restrictions and as financial institutions recognise the value of this method of engagement.
In general, opportunities across the banking and financial services sector are available for specialised candidates with deep rooted skills and experience. Such candidates can see themselves with more than one opportunity.