Singapore has long been one of the top ASEAN countries favoured by financial services companies in Hong Kong and beyond as they expand operations into South East Asia. Singapore has high levels of socio-political stability, along with transparency and reliability in business, economic and regulatory affairs to make it an attractive option.

Rated by the World Bank at number 2 in terms of ease of doing business, Singapore is a steady, safe place for financial services companies to launch operations.

Singapore as a financial services hub

As a financial hub, Singapore is already securing its place, keeping step with Hong Kong in many aspects. In the 27th edition of the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), Singapore claimed the fifth spot in the ranking of most competitive financial centres in the world. Singapore has a secure and stable economy, is a part of the ASEAN organisation, and has established multilateral relationships with countries around the world.

As digital banks open up in 2020 and beyond, Singapore will strengthen its position as a technology hub, home to fintech start-ups and companies involved in digitalistation. Additionally, Singapore has been focusing on becoming a data hub for financial information.

As Singapore makes key development in key financial areas such as Banking and Finance, Asset Management, Insurance, FinTech and Capital Markets, more and more companies from Hong Kong are making the decision to move into the country.

2020 Financial Services hiring trends

Overall in Singapore, the demand for IT and digital talent is on the rise. There is sustained demand for standard roles such as those in finance and accounting, corporate governance and front office positions for South East Asia and North Asia regions. Buy side funds, private investment firms and family offices are all actively hiring local talent for their Singapore office.

Financial services companies that are based in Hong Kong are opening up operations in Singapore, creating high demand for professionals with international experience in the financial services sector.

High quality of talent in the job market

Singapore’s talent pool is impressive, as the competitive labour market ensures a diverse range of local and international talents, drawn to Singapore by the quality of life and available job opportunities. As a regional hub, many professionals have experience in complex roles, managing regional interests. High competition for talent locally elevates the talent pool and most financial services professionals are among the best in the region.

Highly educated, the talent pool also boasts a large population of effectively bilingual talents that are fluent in English, Chinese, Japanese, Malay and Tamil, just to name a few.

Important things to note for hiring:

While compensation packages vary by company, there are a few standard expectations that most professionals will have in Singapore, and that companies should take note of:

Central Provident Fund (CPF) – Employer Contributions CPF is the mandatory pension fund set out by the government, where all employers in Singapore must contribute monthly rates of 17% for employees that are either Singapore Citizens or Permanent Residents. This is capped at S$1020 per month.

Annual Wage Supplement (AWS) - This supplement is in the form of a 13th month bonus, on top of 12 months’ basic salary. Additionally, standard practice includes a variable bonus that depends on the company’s performance that year, and individual performance.

Other common benefits include: annual leave of at least 10 days, medical leave of 14 days, medical insurance coverage, and paid maternity leave for 16 weeks.

Resources for companies expanding

Government Incentives

One key reason why financial services companies in Hong Kong are keen to expand in Singapore is due to the various government incentives that make doing business in the country very attractive. The government has a robust program of incentives and support for businesses at all levels. For example, the Singapore government provides grants and other development programs for fintech innovation. These are available for companies of all sizes, and the government has taken the initiative to invest in and encourage financial programs such as epayments and other fintech. See the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s site for detailed information on all the incentives available.

Salary Benchmark

For a look at standards for salaries within Financial Services in Singapore, see our 2020 Salary Guide for detailed information.

For more information about the financial services sector in Singapore, please reach out to Gavin Teo, Associate Director of Banking and Finance for Michael Page in Singapore at [email protected].

For a discussion with our Michael Page consultants, request a callback from us.