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Singapore – Salaries rise faster for risk officers than in the West

12 November 2013

Salaries for banking risk and compliance officers in Singapore and Hong Kong have risen at about twice the pace this year than the pay for similar positions in New York and London firms amid a shortage of skilled staff in Asia, according to recruitment firm Robert Half.

Neil Owen, Director of Robert Half, said: “Pay excluding bonuses for people who changed jobs in the Asian financial hubs rose as much as +20% this year, compared with +10% in the Western cities.”

In absolute terms, a senior official in Singapore is paid as much as SGD 250,000 (USD 200,275) annually, compared with Hong Kong’s HKD 1.8 million (SGD 290,000 / USD 37,405), London’s £175,750 (SGD 350,000 / USD 45,145) and New York’s USD 323,595 (SGD 400,000), data compiled by the firm showed.

“While the faster wage gains reflect the smaller pool of professionals available in the Asian cities, they also underscore the rise in demand for such skills as policymakers globally tighten regulations on banks’ capital buffers and crack down on offences from money laundering to rigging of interest rates,” Mr Owen continued.

“The compliance team in a large bank consisted of a handful of people before the financial crisis.” There’s been such a significant increase in the types of functions that are required, there’s been so much change coming down from the regulators, the types of processes that need to be implemented,” he added.

Pay for risk and compliance officers rose more than for other finance jobs this year, according to Robert Half. Salaries in other financial services jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong including client servicing, loans administration or mergers and acquisitions advisory have not changed in the last 12 months, data compiled by the firm show.

Banks and regulators have clashed over the severity of capital, indebtedness and liquidity rules that were set out in 2010 as part of an overhaul of the banking industry to avoid a repeat of the 2008 global financial crisis. The credit crunch that followed the collapse of Lehman Brothers caused at least USD 2 trillion in losses globally.

More regulations are in the pipeline, reports Today Singapore, with the US putting final touches on the Volcker rules that would curtail proprietary trading and the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision drafting more guidelines to curb risk taking.

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