Morning Coffee: BTMU hiring in Singapore as it localises workforce

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If you work in transaction banking in Singapore, yet another bank has announced a headcount expansion in your sector – this time it’s Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (BTMU).

The Japanese bank now has more than 1,200 staff in Singapore, up from 600 only a “few years ago”, Go Watanabe, BTMU's chief executive for Asia & Oceania, told the Business Times. Transaction banking, which includes trade finance and cash management, is now the firm’s key growth business in Singapore and across non-Japan Asia. BTMU's current Singapore-based transaction-banking headcount of 60 will be expanded in a bid to win more business from some 180 Japanese corporates who have regional headquarters in the city state.

BTMU faces formidable competition for transaction banking talent in Singapore, however, and not only from heavyweights like HSBC and Standard Chartered. Japanese rival Mizuho is staffing up in the function as it launches a new transaction-banking unit in Singapore. In trade finance, local banks DBS and UOB are among the most aggressive recruiters, while Australian and Middle Eastern banks were expanding in the function in Singapore earlier this year. Recruiters have told us previously that banks are increasingly having to consider candidates from credit, risk or even client-services backgrounds in order to plug skill shortages in transaction banking.

Away from his transaction banking focus, BTMU's Watanabe told the Business Times that he would also like to reduce the number of Japanese staff (which currently stands at about 220) in Singapore. "I like to promote internally or hired from the market," he said. As we reported last month, several other foreign banks in Singapore are stepping up their efforts to hire local talent in the wake of the Fair Consideration Framework.


Shanghai’s rise doesn't mean Hong Kong is on borrowed time as a financial centre, says HKMA boss. (South China Morning Post)

UBS Singapore talks up its digital private banking platform. (Asia One)

Why China’s deposit insurance scheme is itself a big risk. (South China Morning Post)

HSBC targets affluent clients as it opens 12th branch in Singapore. (Straits Times)

Five things to consider after a bank merger. (Economic Times)

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