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Deutsche Bank starts “double digit” hiring for new Singapore ESG team

Deutsche Bank is hiring in Singapore following its decision last month to launch a centre of excellence (COE) in Singapore for environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG).

The German bank will build a “sizable team in the double digits”, according to Kamran Khan, Deutsche’s APAC head of ESG and its head of the Singapore COE. Deutsche wants to hire people with expertise in “ESG data analytics, financial modelling, and with an understanding of international sustainable finance standards, frameworks and measurement models”, Khan told us.

The ESG centre will work across all business divisions of Deutsche, focusing on execution of ESG transactions, new product development, and advisory services. It will also focus on fintech to address gaps in the ESG market.

Deutsche has already started opening up local ESG vacancies. If you’re looking to land your first ESG role as the sector expands in Singapore, some of these jobs appear to be for junior candidates who have sought-after skills but haven’t necessarily worked in ESG before. An ESG associate vacancy demands at least two years generalist experience in investment banking, according to the DB careers site. The firm is pitching this role as an opportunity to develop a “deep understanding of ESG, gain transactional experience, and hone relevant skills in the fast growing ESG market”. The new hire will focus on public and private ESG transactions as well as new product development and advisory.

At a more senior level, prior ESG expertise becomes much more relevant. “As we continue to grow our franchise in the region from our regional head office in Singapore, we are building a team of professionals with world-class expertise in ESG/sustainable finance,” says Deutsche’s careers site.

Experienced ESG people aren’t easy to hire in Singapore, however. Banks such as DBS and Standard Chartered are also looking for ESG experts. “There’s a talent shortage of ESG professionals because ESG is still in its infancy stage in Singapore, and ESG governance tends to be very sector specific. In a country with no natural resources, talent is quite limited to start with,” says Lim Chai Leng, senior director of banking and financial services at Randstad.

Most banks are focusing their recruitment on upper management and specialists who come from specific ESG sectors, says Lim. While they are opening to hiring from the corporate sector, these people are still in short supply. “Banks tend to focus on industries that have the largest impact on our environment such as energy, agriculture, infrastructure and supply chain. Most of the existing ESG professionals in Singapore have worked in multinationals or overseas in similar functions, and are recruited to set up the foundations for banks here,” she adds.

A number of new initiatives have increased hiring in the broader ESG, sustainability and green financing space in Singapore. DBS, Temasek, Standard Chartered and SGX announced last month that they are launching a joint venture global carbon exchange later this year. In April, UOB appointed Eric Lim into the newly created position of chief sustainability officer. Lim, who is also chairman of UOB’s ESG committee, wants the bank to reach $15bn in sustainability loans by 2023 and has highlighted an estimated $1 trillion in sustainable opportunities across Southeast Asia, from renewable energy to food and agriculture, green cities and efficient industries.

Meanwhile, the Green Finance Industry Taskforce, convened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, has developed a new framework for green trade finance, enabling banks to assess whether trade finance activities qualify as green. HSBC and UOB have piloted four transactions for renewable energy, recycling, agriculture and farming under this framework.

“Due to its non-financial impact, banks used to engage third-party consultancy firms to manage ESG-related matters in the past. However, with the increasing financial implications, more firms, especially wholesale banks, are starting to build dedicated in-house teams in Singapore to look into ESG lending and investments,” says Lim. “They’re hiring risk management professionals as well as structurers to develop, integrate and review ESG-specific risk assessments, investments and lending frameworks,” she adds.

Photo by Corporate Locations on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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