After a 12 months dominated by civil unrest, recession, Covid-19, and US-China tensions, many senior Hong Kong finance professionals now care more about their base salaries than their likely-to-be-poor bonuses.
In which jobs will you earn the highest base salaries in Hong Kong banking? And how much will you actually get paid when you reach the senior ranks in these roles?
To find out, we averaged out director (i.e. people with 10 years’ experience or more) pay figures across salary surveys from four recruitment agencies in Hong Kong. We then eliminated jobs with an annual salary of less than HK$2m to produce the table below. We used the maximum figures from each firm’s director-level pay range, so the salaries listed are for top performers.
While the 11 functions in our $2m table are all in the front-office, there is now surprisingly little difference between them when it comes to senior pay.
Interestingly, the table-topping investment bankers in ECM, DCM and M&A now only earn 9% more in base pay than their private banking counterparts at director level in Hong Kong (although in good years their bonuses would typically be much higher).
Despite the impact of Covid-19, demand for relationships managers has stayed strong this year as private banks – most notably HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche Bank – continued to hire. Moreover, boutique firms such as EFG, LGT, Safra Sarasin, UBP, and VP Bank are also expanding and sometimes offering pay rises of between 30% and 50% to entice RMs to join their smaller platforms.
Meanwhile, despite Asian equities job cuts by several major banks over the past few years, senior pay in sales, trading and research remains close to that in investment banking. “This is mainly historical – there’s certainly no big upward pressure on pay in these jobs,” says a headhunter in Hong Kong. “If anything, the pay trend is in the other direction because of e-trading helping to drive redundancies.”
Photo by Modern Affliction on Unsplash
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