Last year was a lucrative one overall for many DBS employees as pay increased and net profit rose 44% year-on-year to a record S$6.8bn.
The local bank said on Monday that its profit surge restores “a trend of consecutively higher earnings that the pandemic disrupted in the previous year”.
Global pay per head at DBS in 2021 – total employee expenditure (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – was up 10% on 2020 to S$118,002, according to figures calculated from its earnings results.
However, employees appear to have waited a few months longer than usual to see an increase in their earnings. The bank’s financial report mentions that a 7% jump in second-half expenses reflected “base salary increments that were carried out at mid-year after the economic recovery had taken hold”.
The rise in average compensation may potentially also have been partly driven by high salaries for newly recruited technology staff. Like all banks in Singapore, DBS is facing a candidate-led job market in tech. Developers and other tech professionals are regularly securing pay hikes of 20% or more when moving firms, say recruiters. DBS has made “significant investments through new digital platforms”, CEO Piyush Gupta said on Monday. Tech bonuses at DBS, OCBC and UOB are understood to be strong this year.
Institutional banking was the stand-out division at DBS, a fact that may also bode well for bankers’ bonuses. For the full year, profit before tax in institutional banking – which includes teams such as corporate finance and advisory banking – rose 65% to S$3.76bn. Total income rose 4% to S$5.98bn from “increased treasury customer flows, capital market, trade and loan-related activities”, according to DBS’s financial results.
CEO Gupta said the strong growth in DBS’s loan book and higher fee income are a product of a recovering economic environment and the lender’s broadly diversified franchise. But he also highlighted headwinds from lower treasury markets and wealth management activity amid market volatility.
Photo by K8 on Unsplash