The truth about salaries at HSBC in Hong Kong

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The truth about salaries at HSBC in Hong Kong

If you had any doubt as to how crucial Hong Kong is to HSBC, take a look at its 2019 annual report. Last year HSBC made $22.2bn in adjusted profit before tax globally – and Hong Kong alone generated $12.1bn. The significance of Hong Kong to HSBC's operations was further reinforced last month when the bank chose to support the city’s new security law, despite opposition from the UK government.

Moreover, while HSBC is currently in the midst of a coronavirus-driven hiring freeze (critical roles excepted), it typically has hundreds of Hong Kong vacancies on offer throughout the year. The firm has ambitious Asian growth plans in technology and private banking, for example.

However, if you work in a front-office investment banking role in HSBC’s Global Banking and Markets division, Hong Kong is still likely to be the best place to base yourself. HSBC chief executive Noel Quinn has pinned the bank’s long-term strategy on expanding in Asia and cutting back in Europe.

HSBC ranked a fairly respectable seventh for APAC (international and ex-Japan) IB revenue by bank in the opening quarter of 2020, according to Dealogic. And it has a new man in charge of helping it try to climb up that league table. As we reported yesterday, HSBC has appointed David Liao, formerly its China CEO, as Asia head of global banking and markets, the division that includes its investment bank.

How much will you earn as an investment banker working for Liao at HSBC in Hong Kong? To give you an approximation of HSBC’s Hong Kong salaries in IB, we reviewed self-reported Glassdoor pay numbers for HSBC across the five seniority levels that the website has sufficient data for: analyst, associate, vice president, associate director, and director.

IB pay at HSBC in Hong Kong obviously varies from banker to banker and according to individual performance, so the figures in the table below should be seen as approximate and general guidance. Moreover, we only reviewed Glassdoor’s high-range annual salaries for top performers at HSBC, because they better reflect the earnings of front-office investment bankers, who are typically paid more than their peers in other functions. The figures do not apply to non-IB staff.

HSBC did not comment on its Hong Kong salaries.

How much will your HSBC salary be in Hong Kong?

The approximate Glassdoor numbers suggest that analyst-level investment bankers at HSBC in Hong Kong can expect to earn annual base salaries of about HK$695k a year on average, although this would vary depending on whether they are first, second, or third-year analysts.

Front-office HSBC salaries for associates within the firm’s Hong Kong investment bank are in the region of HK$900k, according to the numbers that HSBC staff have self-reported to Glassdoor. Vice presidents in IB jobs at HSBC in Hong Kong earn about HK$1.1m a year.

When you reach the senior ranks, there’s a predictably large uptick in your HSBC Hong Kong salary. Associate directors are paid about HK$1.7m, while directors at HSBC in Hong Kong take home annual base salaries of approximately HK$2m, according to the Glassdoor estimates.

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