Average base pay for investment banking and hedge fund staff in Hong Kong has shot up by 15 per cent this year overtaking salary hikes in London
Such generous rises highlight the two-speed global economy in 2011 as Asia powered ahead while Europe and the US teetered close to recession.
Analysts in Hong Kong have seen 20 per cent base pay increases while those at “managing director” level have seen raises averaging 25 per cent. Average base pay for investment banking and fund management staff now stands at HK$890,000 (about £74,000).
Equivalent staff in London saw rises of 12 per cent.
Mark O’Reilly, managing director of recruitment firm Astbury Marsden which carried out the research, said: “Investment banking teams operating in Hong Kong have performed more strongly than their counterparts in London and New York in 2011. Generally banks are keener to invest in their teams in Asia than in Europe and the US and that has meant a bigger boost for Hong Kong bankers’ base pay.”
But next year is expected to be tougher as Western banks caught up in the eurozone debt crisis take a more cautious approach to their Asian expansion.
Mr O’Reilly added: “Most of these pay rises will have been agreed earlier this year, when confidence in the banking recovery was strongest, and banks were eager to retain and recruit staff in order to be best-positioned for the expected growth. More recently pay increases have been rarer and more modest.”
Last month John McCormick, RBS chairman for Asia-Pacific, warned that bonuses for investment bankers may be in danger of being clawed bank if the unit performs poorly.
Some banks are actually paring back their Asian headcounts, despite strong growth in the region. HSBC is wielding the biggest axe – cutting 3,000 staff over the next three years in Hong Kong.
Findings from Hong Kong-based headhunters Morgan McKinley show that 35 per cent of financial services firms plan to reduce their headcount within the next six to 12 months.
Another group that has prospered this year are compliance staff. As Hong Kong has expanded its range of financial products the need for greater compliance to monitor these new products has also grown.
Staff working in compliance teams reported pay rises averaging 21 per cent of their salaries. This was more generous than the average 11 per cent pay rises enjoyed by their counterparts in London over the same period.
Article source: The Telegraph, 21 December 2011
Investment Banking Salary