HSBC may be cutting up to 500 roles from its global banking and markets business, but it’s also expanding some of its other teams. These include private banking (HSBC is taking on 650 new staff across Asia) and technology (spending on tech increased in the first quarter).
In Singapore, HSBC’s hiring priorities also include….SME (small and medium-sized enterprise) banking. Moreover, say headhunters, hiring is buoyant across the whole job sector as HSBC and its rivals take on more relationship managers and product experts to service Singapore’s growing legions of startups.
HSBC wants to increase its share of the Singapore SME market (clients with a turnover of between S$5m and S$100m), reports the Business Times. It added 30 people to its team last year and is taking on more in 2019.
This may not be straightforward, however, because Standard Chartered, Citi, DBS, OCBC, UOB and Maybank are also increasing their SME hiring, as are local finance companies such as Hong Leong Finance, Singapura Finance, and Sing Investments & Finance, say recruiters.
“There’s now a different impetus for SME banking because millennials are more prepared to start their own business and there’s more government support for startups,” says Pan Zaixian, a partner at recruiters Pan & Co. “Businesses here aren’t necessarily getting bigger as our economy matures and corporate growth slows, so banks may have no choice but to go after the SME pie as a revenue substitute. They also see SME clients as future commercial and corporate clients,” he adds.
The bulk of SME banking roles are for front-office RMs, says Gary Lai, managing director at recruiters Charterhouse Partnership. Product managers are also sought after, says Angela Kuek, director of search firm Meyer Consulting Group. “Banks want people who can oversee SME products – especially working capital products – from conceptualisation, to development to commercialisation,” she adds.
The increase in hiring from HSBC and its rivals over the past few months has created a shortage of SME relationship managers in Singapore and has made banks more flexible about the people they take on.
“The shortfall is being plugged by retail banking RMs who transit into these SME positions, especially for more junior RM roles,” says Lai. “SME RMs are even being hired from the client side, because they have specific knowledge of the industry they operate in,” he adds.
Pay rises for newly hired RMs can reach 20%, says Kuek. Team-head senior RMs earn S$200k a year on average in Singapore, according to a survey by recruiters Hays. A 20% increase would take their salary to S$240k. To land this kind of increment, you’ll need to be able to “hunt” for new clients (not just milk your current ones), and prove you can “port over” clients to the new bank, says Kuek.
Image credit: bunhill, Getty
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