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The new skills you need to get a Singapore private equity job

Language skills are increasingly important to getting a job at a Singapore-based private equity firm, according to a PE industry insider.

With the vast majority of regional deals taking place outside of Singapore, particularly in Indonesia and Vietnam (and Thailand, Malaysia and The Philippines to a lesser extent), PE firms and mutual funds have been hiring candidates who are able to speak and write local languages like Vietnamese or Bahasa Indonesia.

“In most of the countries in the region, established families run the leading businesses in the country, and things are very much relationship based. In this sense, having a local person on the investment team can be extremely helpful for navigating language constraints,” says the source.

Most hedge funds cover Southeast Asia these days, with their Singapore offices acting as a base. Smaller funds also tend to be made up of country-specific investors, so in-depth knowledge of particular markets will come in handy.

There is no “hiring season” in Singapore PE, with roles typically opening up when someone leaves for another role or industry. This means it is important for candidates to stay in touch and check in with recruiters regularly to ensure that they get shortlisted as soon as the searches are launched.

The actual interview process is “usually very long and drawn out”, says the source.

“You will end up meeting most of the team, and there is often if not always a case study, involving a full financial model and usually an investment memo,” says the PE employee. There also tends to be a larger emphasis on technical knowledge versus factors like cultural fit.

Investment banking experience still continues to be sought after by recruiters, with a handful of New York, London and Indian investment bankers moving to Singapore PE firms “fairly frequently”.

Photo by Kate Branch on Unsplash

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