Bloomberg News

China Finance Pay to Grow by Double Digits, Says Robert Walters

February 28, 2012

Pay for newly hired senior investment professionals in China and emerging Asian countries may see double-digit growth this year as banks in the region compete for talent and avoid the European debt crisis fallout.

Compensation for a senior corporate banker in Beijing, excluding bonuses, is projected to jump 42 percent this year to at least 2 million yuan ($317,000) from 1.4 million yuan in 2011, according to London-based recruiter Robert Walters (RWA), which counts Barclays Bank Plc (BARC) and Standard Chartered Plc (STAN) as clients. Their counterparts in Tokyo and Singapore are likely to see salaries remain mostly unchanged, the firm said today in a survey report.

As banks cut thousands of jobs in the wake of the European crisis, global lenders including HSBC Holdings Plc (HSBA) are competing for staff in Asia to tap growing markets there. Pay growth in nations including China, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand will rise from a much lower base than in more developed markets, Christina Ng, an associate director for financial services and legal hiring at Robert Walters, said.

“These markets are driven by domestic banks and financial institutions and are not affected much by what’s going on in Europe,” said Mark Ellwood, a Singapore-based managing director at Robert Walters who oversees Asia, excluding Japan and Korea. “You’re fishing here in a smaller pool, so you’re going to see upward pressure on salaries,” he said at an event in the city- state announcing the survey, which covered 24 countries including the U.S., U.K. and Australia.

‘War For Talent’

Global banks including Citigroup Inc. and Morgan Stanley (MS) have announced almost 500,000 job cuts worldwide since the middle of last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Still, growth and staff are being sought in Asia.

HSBC, Europe’s largest bank by market value, may expand its Asia-Pacific headcount by as much as 5 percent by the end of 2013, Peter Wong, the U.K. bank’s chief executive officer for the region, said today. Stuart Gulliver, the bank’s CEO, aims to cut 30,000 jobs worldwide to save as much as $3.5 billion by next year.

“As far as Asia is concerned, there will be more war for talent, so we’re going to have to be very careful in terms of how we control the costs,” Wong said in Hong Kong today.

Pay for a partner at a private-equity fund in Beijing may start at a rate of as much as $590,000 this year, a 19 percent gain from last year’s starting rate, according to the survey. Starting salaries for a private banker in Jakarta and a trader in Kuala Lumpur this year are projected to be at least $80,000 at the vice-president level, a 12 percent and 20 percent gain respectively from the previous year’s survey.

Bangkok Banker

An investment banker in Bangkok with at least eight years of experience can command a salary upwards of $90,000 in 2012, an 18 percent gain from last year, according to the study. In Tokyo and Singapore, senior investment bankers earned upwards of $340,000 in 2011, it said.

The International Monetary Fund last month cut its projections for world output growth this year by 0.7 percentage points to 3.3 percent. The IMF’s growth forecast reduction for developing Asia was 0.7 percentage points to 7.3 percent, compared with a bigger cut of 1.2 percentage points to 3.3 percent for newly industrialized Asian economies.

To contact the reporter on this story: Sanat Vallikappen in Singapore at vallikappen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chitra Somayaji at csomayaji@bloomberg.net


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