For Recruiters

Singapore 2007: Going up and going down

2006 was good for Singapore; 2007 could be even better. Just don't bet on the good fortune being evenly distributed.

Going up

Forex, bond and structured credit products:

Singapore's equity market may be steaming, but so is its fixed income sector. The country was ranked the fourth largest foreign exchange market in the world after London, New York and Tokyo in 2006. Little surprise, therefore, that headhunters tell us experienced forex professionals will always be welcome in the city. And while Hong Kong is the equity, equity derivatives and investment banking heart of Asia, Singapore is the regional, multi-currency fixed income hub.

"High yield debt and local currency debt is going to be hot in Singapore next year, as money pours in to leverage off the strengthening local currencies and growth companies," says David Fernandez, JPMorgan's regional strategist.

Private wealth and asset management, insurance and Islamic finance:

Private wealth management was hot in Singapore during 2006. All indications are it will be hotter still in 2007. As the number of wealthy individuals in the area increases, Singapore is fast becoming the Switzerland of Asia (without the snow).

Asset management is also a growing trend. The Singaporean government is partly to thank - it's been shrewdly increasing its attraction to Middle Eastern petro-dollars. Singapore's assets under management (AUM) have already grown to half a trillion Singapore dollars from S$350 billion a few years ago.

Middle and back office:

As well as becoming a Swiss-style Mecca for the world's private bankers, Singapore is emerging as the dream destination for techies, accountants and compliance experts. "As Singapore and Hong Kong, not to mention the rest of the region, continues regional expansion, these positions can only increase," says Gene Shen, a partner at the Options Group.

Going down

Short notice periods:

Singapore's booming job market has created a healthy culture of poaching and pinching each other's staff. Banks are fighting back by increasing notice periods and (allegedly) agreeing not to lift talent from specified rivals. Notice periods are already longer than before. Before 2007 is out they may well get longer still.


Unfortunately for us, the number of libel suits generated by the Singapore government against foreign journalists proves that it's safer to earn money than about writing how other people earn money.

Buying other people's assets:

Temasek's controversial acquisition of Thai-based Shin Corp shows that even with the best financial advisers (Goldman) buying national assets can have unfortunate consequences. It's not sure how many heads rolled at Temasek, but some certainly did.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment

Apply for jobs

Find thousands of jobs in financial services and technology by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.

Boost your career

Find thousands of job opportunities by signing up to eFinancialCareers today.
Latest Jobs