New Singapore hiring boom as compliance professionals land multiple job offers

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New Singapore hiring boom as compliance professionals land multiple job offers

It’s not only local technology professionals who are receiving multiple offers from banks when they are looking for work in Singapore. Defying expectations that job demand in compliance had peaked two or three years ago, professionals in the function are being peppered with offers and are securing pay rises of up to 25%.

People with a regulatory compliance background – particularly those who know the SFA Securities and Futures Act or Financial Advisors Act – are highly sought after by banks, investment management firms, and securities brokerages, says Deepika Devarajan, team manager of banking and financial services at Hays. “Given the transferability of skill sets of these candidates across a wide range of financial institutions, coupled with a talent shortage, we’re seeing a good number of people securing more than one offer,” she adds.

Experts in financial crime compliance, transaction monitoring, anti-money laundering, and transaction compliance are most in demand in Singapore, says Devarajan.

David Bolland, a financial services senior consultant at Hudson, has seen a “marked uptick” in compliance hiring this quarter, especially for people who have “deep relations” within the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and other Asian regulators. As compliance professionals receive multiple offers, salary rises are typically in the 20% to 25% range, compared with 10% to 15% for most other (non-technology) jobs in the Singapore finance sector, he adds.

The awarding of four new digital banking licences in Singapore is driving some of the compliance recruitment because the virtual banks are rapidly building compliance teams before they launch next year. “MAS has set some aggressive hiring targets for the digital banks, which has created opportunities across all compliance disciplines,” says Gavin Izon, a financial services consultant at Robert Walters.

The digital banks are mainly poaching people from brick-and-mortar rivals, says Izon. DBS, OCBC, UOB, Standard Chartered, Citi and HSBC – which dominate compliance hiring in Singapore – are having to replace compliance people who leave for digital banks, as well as focus on their own expansion plans. Digital banks prefer to hire compliance generalists who are skilled in the use of regulatory technology, says Izon.

Hiring in compliance is rising most rapidly at the middle-to-senior level, says Lim Chai Leng, senior director of banking and financial services at Randstad. “While this growth can be directly attributed to increasing regulations, banks are also experiencing strong competition for talent from fintech firms,” she says. “With such a small pool of eligible candidates, many firms who fear losing their talent are giving counter offers to employees,” she adds.

Photo by dylan nolte on Unsplash

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