In Focus

Talent crunch hits Singapore's wealth management scene despite hefty bonuses

There is still a lot of work to do in order to run after 1,400 individuals in the Lion City with net worths above $69m.

Employers across Singapore revealed that they are eyeing to increase their company’s salary budgets by 4% in 2019 which is similar to their plans set out for 2018, according to a study.

But for the country’s wealth management industry, it seems to be raining generosity as a larger 5-15% YoY increments of salary raise were observed in 2018 just like in 2017, Michael Page Singapore managing director Nilay Khandelwal told Singapore Business Review.

On top of it, wealth managers also get to taste a 10-20% bonus raise with portfolios of firms getting bigger, the director added.

Also read: Singapore to sustain 4% pay hike in 2019

At this rate, a managing director with more than 17 years of experience can earn up to $200,000 in bonuses alone. A package consisting of base salary and bonus paired with long-term incentives could seal a $1-1.5m for these directors.

Despite banks giving away tons of bonuses, it seems that talent crunch will remain to be a key challenge with more players eyeing and setting up a hiring spree in the Lion City where 1,400 individuals have a net worth of over $69m (US$50m).

“Financial institutions who are looking to expand their business operations and grow their teams will find it hard to source top talent simply because the tenure length of wealth management professionals tends to be quite long within an organisation,” Robert Half Singapore managing director Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard told Singapore Business Review.

The director thinks that many financial institutions focus a lot on retaining their top performing staff with lucrative financial rewards.

"The risk is an increased demand which would make this a candidate driven market. With the candidate shortage, this hamper the growth plans of various organisations," Khandelwal commented.

Also read: Singapore and Hong Kong private banks wage war for wealth managers to lure Asia's crazy rich

In September, HSBC revealed that it will headhunt over 1,300 employees for its retail and private banking arm until 2022 as the bank moves to chase high-net-worth wealth in Asia.

“We have a real opportunity to do more and that’s to further build on Hong Kong and to materially build what we do today in Singapore,” HSBC Asia Pacific head of retail banking and wealth management Kevin Martin said in a Bloomberg interview.

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