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Hong Kong investment banks seek global markets compliance professionals

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Mid-year market update: Hong Kong Compliance

Compliance recruitment in Hong Kong has, in recent years, been led by the 8 virtual banks and fintech firms. With their agile operating models and innovative product lines, these firms have been able to attract talent from established retail banks. This in turn created a hub of activity in replacement hires across the retail banking sector.

Whilst Hong Kong’s protests disrupted the market towards the end of 2019, compliance recruitment was in fact going through an anticipated lull. The majority of virtual banks successfully hired their compliance leadership teams early in 2019 and spent the preceding months building them out, meaning that most were fully equipped by the end of the year. Notwithstanding this, candidates with a combination of strong retail banking, investment products, set up experience and IT skills were in high demand.

Things started to thaw at the start of 2020. There was an uptick in activity from the Asian, particularly Chinese, banks both in regulatory compliance and financial crime compliance, largely at VP level. In addition, several international investment banks sought to hire global markets compliance professionals at the VP and SVP level. Recent hires include a head of financial crime compliance (FCC) and a head of transaction monitoring and fraud risk, alongside continued appetite to hire within FCC assurance.

So, despite Covid-19, hiring within compliance in 2020 remains at a steady level. Replacement hires for essential roles make up the majority of hires we are seeing rather than any significant compliance build outs across the market. Salary increments remain consistent at between 15-20% for candidates looking to move within the same space in the banking industry.

For a comprehensive review of the Hong Kong recruitment market across legal, compliance, risk and technology please download our latest whitepaper.