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UK bankers flood job market in Singapore and Hong Kong

UK bankers flood job market in Singapore and Hong Kong

Recruiters in Hong Kong and Singapore have spotted a surge in enquiries from London-bases banking professionals wanting to relocate to Asia due to Brexit

Adam Davies, an associate director at recruiters iKas International in Singapore, says he’s now receiving “a lot more” job applications from the UK, especially from EU nationals “who want a more stable career somewhere else, without the worry of Brexit”.  Despite banks in general not wanting to shift jobs to Asia.

John Mullally, director of Hong Kong financial services at recruiters Robert Walters, stated: “As uncertainty over Brexit has grown during the last few weeks, we’ve seen an uptick from young Brits – mainly single people with no property or kids, who can relocate easily – wanting jobs in Hong Kong.”

“But the largest increase has come from Asians in London who are concerned about how Brexit could affect London as a finance centre and a place to build their careers. They think job-market sentiment is better back home.” He added.

The UK is set to leave the EU in March next year.

While London mayor Sadiq Khan stated last month that a ‘bad’ or ‘no-deal’ Brexit will cause jobs to flow to Asian cities instead of European capitals—Banking recruiters have stated that he is wrong, and that the supply of banking jobs in Hong Kong and Singapore isn’t matching the interest in Asia from UK-based candidates.

Global banks simply aren’t shifting front-office IBD or trading jobs from London to Hong Kong or Singapore because of Brexit, stated an in-house recruiter at a US firm in Hong Kong. “For front-office jobs focused on European clients and deals, you either keep them in London or move them to the likes of Frankfurt and Paris.Hong Kong is just as out of the EU as London will be, and the time zone makes far less sense for trading.”

It is extremely unlikely that Singapore and Hong Kong will be beneficiaries if banks shift back and middle-office jobs away from London. Banks such as Barclays and Credit Suisse have been offshoring operations jobs out of Singapore for the past five years, and these roles don’t look set to return anytime soon.

“If there’s movement from London because of Brexit, it will be to lower-cost places like Poland, not Singapore,” says Kyle Blockley, managing partner of recruiters KS International.

“The cost of basing people in Singapore or HK is too much, especially if banks need to pay extra to cover overnight work during the European time zone.” He added.

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