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With travel restrictions around the world gradually being lifted, more front office employees in the banking and financial services industry are once again able to start travelling to negotiate and close deals for their clients and organisations.
The banking and financial services industry has long been preparing for this moment. Over the last few years, many financial services institutions in Asia Pacific have either been relocating or merging and acquiring business units to prepare for post-pandemic economic growth. Now that the time has come, organisations are pushing for the next phase of growth — human capital.
As the economy recovers, the demand for banking and financial professionals continues to grow across the region. Some of the most sought-after roles in financial and bank branch services can be found in the front office.
what is the front-office in banking and financial services?
Front office jobs consist of client-facing roles and have direct interaction with clients and customers. Typically they are the one responsible for generating revenue for the company.
In an investment bank, finance or insurance company, the front office departments may include professionals in customer service, sales, traders, asset managers, brokers, business analysts, and industry experts.
The common front-office divisions include:
- capital markets
- investment banking
- equity research
- sales and trading
- private equity
- wealth management
hiring trends and jobs on demand in banking and financial services
Our specialised recruiters from our banking and financial services team share their observations on the current state of the market and hiring trends in Singapore. Our team which consists of 18-strong and highly skilled recruitment specialists have a deeper understanding of the industry and cover the full spectrum of the front office space.
Read on to find out what are some of the most in-demand jobs in Singapore for the banking and financial sector, as well as the insights that’ll help you secure a new job in the front office space.
1. expanding wealth in offshore markets from singapore
Investors are expecting a bearish market in 2022 due to falling prices of financial securities, mounting inflationary pressures as well as increasing geopolitical risks. This has resulted in a hiring slowdown for front office staff in enterprise asset management, investment asset management and funds.
On the bright side, the talent demand for offshore relationship managers and client acquisition managers has scaled up steadily. Due to geopolitical changes and new tax laws in various jurisdictions, more banking customers are moving their assets to Singapore to leverage the diversification and grow their portfolio in the region.
Front office professionals in Singapore have numerous opportunities to branch out to deepen or grow their portfolios as a result.
To stand out in the talent pool, offshore bankers must have the skill sets and demonstrate a strong understanding of the market to expand their offshore client network. In particular, employers are increasingly looking to hire bankers who have at least one year experience working in North Asian markets like Hong Kong SAR, Taiwan and mainland China for their client portfolios, as well as exceptional proficiency in Business Mandarin.
In this age of ‘The Great Resignation’, many experienced bankers are negotiating for more from their prospective employers as well. Candidates have higher salary expectations and are mostly looking to work for a company that can offer a more competitive compensation structure as well as products and services that are more suitable for their customers.
meet keng wei
Keng Wei specialises in banking and financial services with a focus in recruiting experienced professionals for front office positions in offshore banking which include relationship managers, investment advisors, funds and treasury specialists. Prior to joining Randstad Singapore in 2021, Keng Wei worked as a sourcing associate and a financial planner.
2. engage with the mass affluent population
There has been an increasing number of mass affluent customers in recent years, who are mostly attributed to digital financial investments (cryptocurrency, NFTs) and easy access to digital trading, wealth management and robo-advisory platforms.
Several banks have already expanded their product and service offerings in the priority banking segment to cater to the financial needs of the mass affluent and newly-minted millionaires.
Financial firms are building new or expanding their front office teams to capitalise on this new customer category through meaningful client engagement and customer experience. Financial consultants from insurance agencies or independent financial advisory firms who have demonstrated strong investment knowledge are particularly attractive to banks that are trying to attract the mass affluent clients.
Employees seeking growth opportunities that a well-structured organisation can offer are more likely to transition from self-employment to front office work in an organisation.
To appeal to their prospective employers, potential job seekers must have relevant and in-demand skills, as well as a thorough awareness of the potential investment opportunities in the financial markets. Being a quality candidate would mean that they need to exhibit great perseverance to thrive in a volatile and strenuous market environment to make quick decisions, while being able to independently manage their customers' requests.
Private banks are also open to hiring talent from priority banking who have experience managing total customer assets of at least SGD150 million or 200 million. Front office professionals looking to progress from priority banking into private banking would need to prove themselves by being able to onboard their existing clients.
Claudia is an ambitious and knowledgeable recruitment specialist. Fresh out of school with a degree in Human Resources Management and internship stints with AXA and UOB, Claudia began her recruitment career journey with Randstad Singapore, sourcing and matching great talent in retail banking.
3. increasing demand for mortgage specialists
Property and leasing prices in Singapore and around the world have risen significantly since the pandemic started. As hybrid work becomes the norm, more people are trading their small city homes for larger units in the suburbs. There are also more overseas investors who are purchasing large-ticket items in Singapore such as commercial offices and prime residential units as they look to diversify their investment portfolios and expand their business in Singapore.
Concurrently, the lack of manpower has slowed down property development timelines. As the demand far outweighs the supply, many developers, investors and buyers are seeking investment advisory from banks to cushion their financial exposure and impact.
Banks are expanding their team of mortgage specialists and are looking to adjacent industries such as real estate, engineering, manufacturing, and hospitality for fresh talent. A career in banking can serve as a good entry point for those who seek to build their specialty and develop professionally in a structured and more lucrative environment.
The transition into the banking environment isn’t as turbulent or jarring as one would think. Financial institutions provide adequate support and training opportunities to ensure that these professionals are able to transition smoothly and integrate into the banking environment.
Quality candidates would need to have a strong interest and drive to be successful in the highly-competitive banking industry. For example, mortgage specialists are expected to take the initiative to keep up with market trends and help their clients evaluate their options independently.
At Randstad Singapore, Reenie works closely with banking clients to fulfil their talent needs for permanent roles in areas such as front office, retail and wealth banking.
4. more small business owners trying to make it big
The number of start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Singapore has not wavered during the pandemic, which is largely fuelled by technology-related verticals such as agritech, medtech, fintech and more. By extension, this trend has powered the growing talent demand within the SME banking space.
Many financial institutions are hiring entry-level front office professionals to both grow their customer base and deepen their customers’ wallet share. This opens up doors for business development professionals from engineering, manufacturing and technology who are interested in making a lateral move to the banking industry where they could potentially enjoy higher salaries, bigger bonuses and more career growth opportunities.
In addition to onboarding new clients, SME bankers would need to promote a wide range of products and services such as government assistance and property loans to their customers.
Roles within SME banking promise a very bright future for front office professionals. Most of them would move either into trade financing or become a credit assessment professional.
Alternatively, those who successfully grow their SME clients’ wallet share may also find an opportunity to further their careers in commercial banking. A strong background knowledge in accounting and finance would be advantageous for those who wish to progress their careers in either commercial or corporate banking.
5. commercial bankers expected to foster meaningful client relationships and grow alongside them
Financial institutions are actively hiring commercial and corporate bankers to meet the increasing demands from clients that are looking to grow and diversify their business in the post-pandemic world.
Besides being able to fulfil the basics of the job such as analysing financial statements and preparing credit papers, good commercial bankers should also exhibit strong interpersonal and business development skills. They will need to be able to anticipate and offer consultation on their existing clients’ business offshore expansion as well as product and service growth opportunities.
Similarly, ambitious commercial bankers who prove to be successful in their roles may find a future in corporate banking to service higher-value clients on a much larger scale.
Jamie specialises in the recruitment of front office professionals that includes business and commercial banking. An affectionate and driven individual, Jamie majored in Human Resources Management and Services in Singapore.
looking for a job change? contact our recruiters.
If you’re looking for better career opportunities with an employer who cares, Randstad is here for you. We partner with regional, global and local banking entities, as well as major banks' operation centres in Singapore.
Our specialised recruiters for the front office space in the banking and financial services team covers offshore banking, onshore banking, priority banking, mass banking, SME banking, commercial banking, corporate banking and more. Simply submit or update your CV profile with us or apply for banking jobs and one of our recruitment consultants will reach out to you if you match the requirements.
It’s okay if you’re not ready to switch just yet as well. Read our new articles for more tips on how to boost your career. Alternatively, if you're a job seeker or employee who wants to know if you're being paid fairly for your skill sets, use our Salary Calculator tool. In less than 2 minutes, you’ll receive a personalised salary report that measures your salary, skills, and experience to compare with others who are just like you!