Buy-side hiring in Singapore is set to rise next year as more hedge funds set up in the city and search for talent, although this will exert only limited upward pressure on hedge fund salaries.
In October, DE Shaw, the US hedge fund with more than $50bn in investment capital, said it will open an office in Singapore in 2021 as it looks to tap new investment opportunities. Citadel and Marshall Wace made similar announcements in August. Meanwhile, Singapore-based QQQ Capital Management was the world’s best-performing hedge fund between January and September, with 275% gains, according to Eurekahedge data.
Singapore rolled out a new legal structure for investment funds in January, designed to attract more funds to its shores. The Republic is also seen as a safe haven for global firms amid ongoing political tension in Hong Kong, although hedge funds are not closing their Hong Kong offices.
How much are hedge funds paying front-office staff as they expand in Singapore?
The table below shows Singapore hedge fund base salary data from buy-side headhunters Principle Partners. It includes four job functions – portfolio managers, investment analysts, execution traders, and investor relations professionals – from associate (approximately four years’ experience) to senior director level (typically people with a least 15 years’ experience).
Portfolio managers are ultimately responsible for making a fund’s final investment decisions, and unsurprisingly their salaries can exceed those of their colleagues in other job functions. Even excluding lucrative carried interest (a share of an investment’s profits, which often exceeds a PM’s base pay), portfolio manager salaries at Singapore hedge funds can reach S$400k (US$300k) for senior directors.
You usually can’t become a portfolio manager in your mid-20s – it’s a job you must work your way into over the course of your career. As a comparative junior (associate or AVP) at a Singapore hedge fund, you can expect to take home between about S$135k and S$200k in base pay in the investment analyst, execution trader, and investor relations functions. Hedge fund pay in these three roles can reach S$270k when you reach vice president (VP) level.
“The expectation is that more jobs across the front, middle and back office will be created as the hedge fund ecosystem in Singapore develops, with an increasing number of global and regional managers setting up here or moving part of their operations here,” says Will Tan, managing partner at Principle Partners. “Broadly speaking, there will be some upward pressure on hedge fund base salaries, but nothing too significant as Singapore is already an international financial centre offering competitive compensation,” he adds.
Base salaries at hedge funds in Singapore
Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash
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