Hong Kong is even more expensive, but Singapore is still the seventh costliest city on earth to reside in, ahead of London and New York, according to Mercer’s 2021 Cost of Living City Ranking.
Having a salary large enough to cope with these costs is naturally a priority for finance professionals in the Republic. But in which finance jobs will you actually earn the highest base salaries? And how much will you get paid when you reach the senior ranks in these roles?
To find out, we averaged out director (i.e. people with about 10 years’ experience or more) base-salary figures across pay surveys from three recruitment agencies in Singapore. We then eliminated jobs with an annual salary of less than S$350k to produce the table below. We used the maximum figures from each firm’s director-level pay range, so the salaries listed are for top performers.
While the nine functions in our S$350k table are all in the front-office, there is now surprisingly little variation among them when it comes to senior pay.
The table-topping investment bankers in ECM, DCM and M&A, for example, now ‘only’ earn 20% more in base pay than their private banking counterparts at director level in Singapore. The pay gap is narrowing as demand for experience relationship managers stays strong, driven by hiring in 2021 from the likes of HSBC and Deutsche Bank. Pay rises of up to 45% are on offer for RMs who move firms.
IBD hiring is flatlining at a senior level, despite a surge in demand for junior talent. Meanwhile, despite Asian equities job cuts by several major banks over the past three years, senior pay in sales, trading and research remains close to that in investment banking.
The figures also suggest that bankers who move to the buy-side in Singapore probably aren’t doing so to boost their base salaries. Pay in private equity and hedge funds is still below that in IBD, although the extra rewards on offer (especially in the form of carried interest in the hedge fund sector) are potentially greater. More Hong Kong-based hedge funds are expected to set up and hire in Singapore soon, a trend that could create talent shortages and push up pay levels in the sector.
Photo by Wayne Chan on Unsplash
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