Stratagem Recruitment Newsletter – August 2014

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As usual, please find below our newsletter for Financial Services, Real Estate and Commodities markets.

2014 hiring has so far been brisk across banks both within investment banking and corporate banking, especially across compliance, trade finance, fund accounting, and operations. Commodities firms however have been more conservative in their headcount approvals.

Completely unsubstantiated gossip that passes across our desks…

·         Major US bank may be rethinking policy of having Japanese speaking roles in Singapore and may relocate those roles back to Tokyo.

·         Large name bank continues to downscale local operations as it offshores 600 operations roles to KL as well as most of IT over to China.

·         Fund services house fails to attract expected client base and plans to close fund admin teams

·         US House hiring aggressively in operations at various levels up to senior director.

·         Major IB beefs up compliance department adding 20% more headcount in Singapore

·         Major Asset Management firm seeks new head of compliance

·         Top name fund services house seeks Director to head up operations

Salary increments – late 2013 and 2014:

Although picking up, we are still not seeing the multiple job offers which are what drive salary increases in the market. Despite the cautious pickup in the amount of hiring in recent months, the diversity of job types is still fairly wide across various skill sets and different job types. Hiring across the board is in general busier than the same period last year, but for an individual who works in a specific department that does not yet translate into multiple opportunities for that skill set at that seniority level at any single time and job seekers may still experience some down time between suitable opportunities come along.

That means that specialist candidates may experience some demand, but not yet to the point of receiving multiple job offers. We do not expect therefore to see any knock on effect on salary levels for the present time. Salary increments therefore still remain at around the 10- 15% level for most job types, although of course there are outliers at the top and at the bottom, although that is normally due to market misalignment in the previous job.

2014 bonus payouts

Most bonus payouts for the majority of large foreign investment banks have been rather poor for this year. There have been some exceptions with one major US house reporting much better numbers than other firms though, and local banks seem to be more confident in bonus payouts than the foreign houses as a whole. The houses that seem the leanest on bonuses this year are the same houses that are involved in large scale offshoring projects, whereas those that have been more generous have been in moderate growth mode over the last 12 months.

Bonuses within the asset management and insurance industry have remained strong with up 4 – 6 months being relatively normal.

Motivations for changing company

Given the low salary increments mentioned above, salary is one of the least reported motivations for changing company that we are seeing at the present time. The biggest reason for moving on is security. While some firms are cutting back in Singapore, others are growing and investing here and offer long terms stable positions. Similarly, where individuals are not actually in danger of redundancy, but maybe team morale is low and the team lacks direction, we are seeing moves across to the brighter competitors with a clearer strategy and direction.


Local Banks are winners in battle for talent

In a market where we are seeing quite a bit of in shoring and off shoring, upsizing and downsizing, the local banks are now seeing a renewed interest from candidates. As stated above, stability is now one of the main criteria for job seekers and local firms have a very good track record in terms of stable growth and very limited job cuts. As salaries and bonuses in overseas banks have been adversely affected in the foreign banks, local banks are still offering a steady annual increment year on year, and bonuses are being paid at 2-3 months on average and we are still seeing up to 6 months for top performers within operations and middle office.


Expat opportunities in KL, Indonesia, Vietnam

While Singapore becomes less and less reliant on overseas management and the generation step into senior roles, so the number of senior expat opportunities is in decline. However we have recently seen searches for expat managers in emerging markets locations where companies who are experiencing some growth or off shoring may need experienced talent to help build up operations there.




Latest Jobs:


Head of Compliance


200- 250k



Head of Brokerage Payables


150 – 200k



Financial Crime Compliance - Sanctions


180 – 220k



Trade Finance Department Head


120k – 156k



Account Manager NAV


90- 140k





If you have any friends who would be interested in the above information or in our jobs board, please don’t hesitate to forward this mail to them. We welcome informal queries about the job market and are always happy to share our information with the wider market. We believe good people refer good people, so please do pass it on!