• Mon
  • Dec 22, 2014
  • Updated: 9:16am
BusinessBanking & Finance

Hong Kong bankers paid extra to compensate for stress

PUBLISHED : Monday, 24 February, 2014, 4:27am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 February, 2014, 4:54pm

Most investment bankers in Hong Kong are paid more than their counterparts in Singapore, some as much as two-thirds more, a poll indicates.

Headhunters believe this is to compensate those in Hong Kong for the city's tough work environment.

Apart from having to put up with Hong Kong's urban jungle and pollution, the bankers have to cope with extreme competition when it comes to stockbroking and underwriting of initial public offerings, they say.

Excessive work pressure is thought to have contributed to a 33-year-old JPMorgan Chase employee in Hong Kong jumping to his death last week. He had told a colleague he was suffering from work-related stress.

A poll of 236 investment bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore by Emolument.com a British-based website that studies salaries and bonuses in the financial services industry, found that total compensation for Hong Kong's investment bank associates, who are one notch above entry-level analysts, is 68 per cent higher than in Singapore.

Managing directors in Hong Kong, who receive an average annual package of US$766,000, earn 37 per cent more than those in Singapore. But directors in Hong Kong, those ranked just below managing directors, make 20 per cent less than their peers in the city state owing to a decline in their bonuses.

Demand for staff is higher in Hong Kong, where investment banks are continuing to hire to comply with regulatory change, while banks in Singapore have been sending some jobs offshore, recruitment firm Morgan McKinley says. It also notes a movement of banking professionals into other industries in Singapore.

Headhunters say that while demand for frontline staff has moderated in Hong Kong, opportunities for legal and compliance experts have been growing steadily as a result of regulatory scrutiny of hiring practices in Asia and the manipulation of Libor and other key benchmark interest rates by global banks.

Because of more stringent capital requirements, global investment banks have had to give up risky but lucrative proprietary trading desks and sell their physical commodities trading units, triggering a wave of job reductions in those areas.

Consulting firm McKinsey said last year that the average return on equity of the world's 13 biggest investment banks could fall to 4 per cent by 2019, from 10 per cent in 2012, if the banks did not take decisive cost-cutting measures.


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Oh da poor wittle bankers feel stress? Oh the poor babies. .Let's all have a collective prayer for those so nice little bankers who are so polite when you see them in Central. They are soooo important. They help society sooooo much.
How about a nurse on night duty in a public hospital?
How about a fire fighter in an old building in Mong Kok?
How about the people who collect trash for almost nothing with their carts?
How about the gas station attendants?
How about the people who clean the public toilets?
How about the air traffic controllers?
How about the domestic helpers who are being abused?
How about the kids in crowded public classrooms with no money for tutors or extra help?
How about the cage livers?
How about the police?
How about .....(fill in your own)?
Are we to feel sorry for these investment ****? No one forced them into this profession (unlike many prostitutes who are coerced into their profession).
Disgraceful! If they don't like it let them go and work somewhere else.
Oh no, that's domestic helpers, isn't it?
It is rotten system. These people overpaid parasites living off other people's work.
It is the decision made by themselves. The high salary should be well justified. Therefore, no complaint.
I understand their stress. The other jobs listed are unpleasant, but the stress level isn't as high as when you are manipulating huge sums of money. We have yet to hear of anybody in the other ranks who suicided because they live in a cage or clean toilets. Yes, the bankers can certainly leave for other professions, but we will always need bankers.


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