Deals fuel demand
Deal-flow steadily increased over the past 18 months and banks have recently responded by increasing headcount at the junior level. There has been a focus on business expansion versus replacement hires in Chinese and boutique banking firms, and a trend of increased hiring in Southeast Asia. Bonuses have improved in line with the deals executed.
On the other hand, global banks focused on a cross-selling model between their investment banking and corporate divisions have yet to justify the cost of capital investment and are downsizing, resulting in slashed bonus pools and redundancies.
There has been significant activity around asset management as multiple China-focused funds are launched. Professionals working outside of Hong Kong for traditional asset management or joint ventures covering the "A share" market have been in high demand. Some asset management firms shifted from a country-focused, generalist model to a sector-focused one, encouraging analysts from the sell side to switch to the buy side.
Kirstin MacLaren, director, Michael Page Hong Kong