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The jobs family offices are hiring for in Singapore

Booming growth in family offices setting up shop in Singapore has led to a talent squeeze for a number of specialised positions.

Accounting professionals and finance managers who can help handle day-to-day operations are highly sought after, as are investment analysts who provide the modelling and quantitative research in support of asset managers, says Chaileng Lim, general manager, banking and financial services, at Randstad Singapore.

“In the last two years we’ve seen a lot of investment coming into Singapore,” says Lim, noting that Singapore currently has more than 700 family offices, up from about 400 in 2020. Lim says she is typically currently recruiting between five and 10 positions on behalf of family office clients.

At the mid-career level, these include financial professionals capable of analytics and modelling – skills that are considered core to the mission of developing a long-term investment strategy.

Their work helps to find the investment ideas and test if they will really work. “They build market models, do analysis and research to support the investment managers,” says Lim.

Family offices are also heavily dependent on back-office staff who oversee functions such as accounting and day-to-day financial management. “It is the business manager who takes care of all other office management and administrative processes. These include vendor management, meeting and travel arrangements, and drafting documents with third parties,” says Lim.

To help the fast-growing industry cope with the growing demand for white-collar workers, the Wealth Management Institute – an entity setup by state investors GIC and Temasek – plans to have 5,000 participants enrolled in its family office programmes by 2025. The institute has seen more than 1,200 people partake in its family office-related programmes since 2020.

Lim says the courses are designed to foster needed skills and underscores the government’s commitment to help provide a local stream of talent into the wealth management industry. “Singapore is in a strategic location,” she says, referring to its appeal for family offices in Asia and internationally.

The headcount at a family office depends on a number of variables that include the size of the assets under management and the number of stakeholders represented. In some instances, a larger family office could be well resourced in terms of research and investment management staff. However, as a general rule, even larger firms tend to outsource non-core duties to external vendors, maintaining a lean headcount.

For this reason, family offices tend to be thin when it comes to technology development teams or IT departments.

Unlike banks, family offices often have a flat culture where staff are expected to stretch beyond a narrowly-defined job description and function as an “all-rounder”, according to Lim. This can mean an employee will often have to have a flexible approach.

“Usually family offices are very small,” she says. “You need to have that breadth in terms of knowledge to serve the family office rather than be a subject matter expert.”

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