Risk Jobs in Asia Pacific
The changing regulations that are impacting the financial services landscape continue to keep the functions of risk, compliance and audit at the top of the hiring priority list for companies across the Asia Pacific region. In addition, amid this internet-proficient age the very real threat to companies that comes by way of cyber-space has led to a need to reinforce defences in this area.
Security and risk roles in Japan are high on the agenda for Japanese businesses; so much so that hiring managers are relaxing their language criteria to include foreign candidates. Ideally, native Japanese speakers with advanced English skills are desired, though companies are being forced to be less selective due to the need for niche skill sets across security, risk and governance. Reflecting the increased call for market risk candidates in 2014, this year sees a similar demand in play both for market risk analysts as well as credit analysts. Credit risk professionals are at the top of the agenda this year, though due to a shortage of candidates with the requisite credentials companies are thinking somewhat out of the box. Casting their net wider, hiring managers are considering those from other functions, such as financial analysis and accounting. In contract recruitment, salary increases are being driven both by candidate shortages and risk professionals’ reluctance to leave secure permanent positions.
Risk jobs and opportunities in Singapore are rich, it’s true; however it’s also important to note that businesses are streamlining their searches, both in accordance with changing regulations as well as the overriding need to keep costs down. Individuals with a niche and transferrable skill set will find themselves in higher demand, as well as technically-skilled local professionals as the government drive to retain and attract local talent continues. Establishing itself as a global private banking hub, Singapore remains an attractive base for new fund set-ups and fund inflows. Creating more opportunities in operational risk, Singapore’s increased focus on controls over frontline banking activity means private banks are concentrating on strengthening their first line of defence roles sitting directly within the business.
For individuals looking to move within market risk, opportunities are relatively limited due to the adverse effect regulations are having on proprietary trading activity with regards to the more complex derivatives, such as credit and equity. Hiring sentiment is considerably stronger for liquidity risk, in light of the third Basel Accord changes, which has seen demand grow for professionals to fill regulatory roles linked to the management of banks’ capital. Although there has not been a great deal of movement in terms of salaries, banks have seemingly compensated for this by doling out a larger share of performance bonuses.
Similarly to Singapore, the Malaysian government is also running an initiative to attract local talent living overseas back home, under the Returning Expert Program. This in response to a palpable need for risk and compliance professionals in Malaysia as companies increase their regulatory scrutiny. Risk professionals were high on the hiring agenda in 2014, and this year the demand remains with companies in particular need of mid and senior level risk and audit professionals. The most sought-after candidates lie within credit risk modelling, treasury market risk, traded credit and operational risk, and those with strong product knowledge – particularly of derivatives, FX/MM, treasury product knowledge and fixed income – will find themselves in highest demand. The small pool of talent within traded credit risk management which services both Malaysia and Singapore will certainly see an increase in opportunities for individuals looking to make a move.
Risk jobs in Hong Kong are rapidly on the rise. Despite its inextricable ties with mainland China, economically speaking, the current state of China’s stock market affairs has thrust Hong Kong markedly into the spotlight. An economic position that sees it stand at once as a portal to China and yet remarkably autonomous with regards its legal system, free speech and even its currency; Hong Kong has taken a step back in recent matters relating to the slump in Chinese stock markets. Financial secretary, John Tsang asserted that Hong Kong will always be susceptible to what occurs in other markets due to its external nature, however all it does is reinforce the fact that Hong Kong conducts its regulatory practices in a mature and sophisticated manner leading to a more robust system.
In this vein, it should come as no surprise then that employers are streamlining their hiring preferences according to specific product knowledge. A generic background in risk will not necessarily win over firms who want individuals to add immediate value to their business and strengthen their risk management function. This also means, in more cases than not, that employers are looking for risk professionals willing to make a like for like move to bring their current expertise to a new firm. A likely cause for conflict with candidates looking to develop their skill set with new challenges and training opportunities, firms are attempting to sweeten the deal with base salary increases starting at 15%.
The importance of growing a business’ risk function remains prevalent across Australia in the face of regulatory changes on both the global and domestic stage. The Anti-money laundering (AML) regulatory fine has proven particularly significant in encouraging firms to bolster their risk and compliance jobs in Australia and their teams globally and locally. In Adelaide and Brisbane, risk candidates, compliance candidates and risk professionals are high on the recruitment agenda, particularly those with experience of business transformation projects. In Melbourne, faced with a limited supply of risk professionals, their need for individuals with experience in credit risk and Basel II and III, means those coming from more specialised and technical areas may be able to push salaries. Similarly in regarding risk jobs in Sydney, most financial services firms are combating regulatory changes by strengthening their regulatory assurance and risk assurance functions. The amalgamation of audit, compliance and risk experience is a key selling point for employers looking to build an effective risk management team.