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Firms expand their risk footprint in Hong Kong

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Mid-year market update: Hong Kong, Risk

The economic upset caused by the protests and Covid-19 has had serious implications on Hong Kong’s recruitment market. In risk, as default risks continue to grow, professionals in credit risk and workout areas are likely to have options in the latter half of 2020. Financial institutions are likely to hire selectively, largely at the AVP and VP level, within credit. This is against a backdrop of a steady stream of replacement hiring across financial risk which, all in all, means that the outlook is far more positive than in some markets.

As cyber technology, business continuity and operational risk become ever more important areas for businesses, so too will the need for non-financial risk capability. Product launches at the 8 virtual banks in Hong Kong mean that candidates able to mitigate technology-related cyber-attacks will enjoy sustained demand.

Counterparty credit risk was busy in the first half of 2020, as international brokerages and investment banking businesses sought headcount in this area, albeit this was largely due to replacement headcount rather than growth hiring. With many fintechs and virtual banks making their risk management leadership hires in 2019, demand here has focussed on mid to junior level candidates as they seek to build out their teams.

A number of organisations that committed to developing their footprint in APAC also made senior risk hires in the first half of 2020. Selective Asian banks, Middle Eastern banks, blockchain and crypto-related business all made newly created senior risk management related hires in the first half of 2020. Salary increases for those moving role have largely been within 10-15%.

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