For Recruiters

Setbacks for Singapore

The southeast Asian city state is losing its mid and back-office functions to India and its front-end functions to Hong Kong, claims Kevin Yeung, a recruiter at The Whitney Group.

"India is cheaper for the back-office stuff and Hong Kong is doing well in the front end," he says.

Indeed, private banking is exploding in the territory, and accounts are moving from around the region to Hong Kong. Swiss giants UBS and Credit Suisse have been ramping up their asset management operations in Hong Kong to the extent that Credit Suisse has had to house its back-office staff in Sheung Wan, one of Hong Kong's less salubrious addresses.

This could be a big threat to Singapore, which has traditionally seen itself as an asset management hub.

"Unfortunately, a lot of the client managers - the revenue generators - who were once placed in Singapore are moving to Hong Kong," says Yeung.

In addition, hedge funds are coming to Hong Kong, increasing the demand for qualified staff and boosting the city's regional significance.

"Hong Kong's proximity to China is always a huge magnet," says one recruiter.

"Hong Kong has set itself up as such an efficient hub, especially for the markets that count. It's established itself as a place from which you can cover all the important countries in Asia," says Yeung.

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