Global Banks Looking To Shift HK Staff

Global Banks Looking To Shift HK Staff To Singapore

HONG KONG – Several multinational financial corporations are considering to relocate employees from Hong Kong to Singapore due to the former’s super strict quarantine rules, reported The Financial Times on Thursday afternoon (27 January, SGT).

For example, Bank of America has begun reviewing its business in the Chinese territory to identify employees who can be moved to Singapore. The review is being coordinated by the bank’s Chief Operating Officer for Asia Pacific, Richard Yacenda.

Another staff at a rival bank told EfinancialCareers that he was looking to relocate to Singapore after spending nearly four months in quarantine in 2021. “It’s too much now. The problem isn’t getting out of Hong Kong. It’s getting back in. It’s bad for my job and my family.”

The banker also shared that several colleagues who work for an American multinational bank had asked their higher-ups if they could relocate to functions in Singapore.

“Banks are seeing strong demand from a lot of their staff to relocate to Singapore. You’ve either got refugees stuck outside of HK trying to get back in, thinking of just relocating to Singapore or there are individuals in Hong Kong looking to relocating roles in Singapore if those roles exist. Some American banks are looking to beef up in Singapore,” commented a recruiter.

Meanwhile, Nomura, Barclays, and Credit Suisse have all been recruiting investment bankers in Singapore. Commerzbank and Royal Bank of Canada are shuttering their business operations in the Chinese territory for strategic reasons and consolidating their business in Singapore

“Hong Kong is a huge equities market, but Singapore has become a real focus for foreign exchange and private banking hub, so banks who are not big players in equities or Equity Capital Markets (ECM) will be more open to move,” noted a senior banker.

“You can keep all the coverage in Hong Kong but HR, compliance and technology can move easily to Singapore, and we’re hearing those sorts of conversations are happening,” added another headhunter.

A recruiter also cited the example of Japanese Banks, such as Mizuho and MUFG, which have adopted a ‘Singapore-first’ strategy by building their Asia Pacific hubs in South Asia rather than in Hong Kong.

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