The labour outlook in the asset management industry is registering positive demand, especially for talent who are experienced in high-growth sectors such as technology, consumer and healthcare.

This affirmative labour market outlook for the asset management sector is fuelled by government actions which will likely boost the status of Singapore as a top financial centre in Southeast Asia. The S$75 million Grant for Equity Market Singapore (GEMS) was unveiled by Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) in 2018 to benefit the equities sector.

“GEMS may be a boost for the finance industry which will result in an increase in hiring activities to manage the onset of inflow investments and listings from high-growth companies,” says Ignatius D'Cruz, Funds and Trust Specialist at Randstad Singapore.

asset management firms may make higher compensation offers

GEMS includes a Research Talent Development Grant to help co-fund 70 per cent of fresh graduates‟ salaries as equity research analysts for two years and re-employed experienced equity research analysts will have 50 per cent of their salaries co-funded for one year. Firms that are looking to recruit high-performing individuals will be able to make a more attractive offer to stand a better chance of securing them.

According to D'Cruz, there has been a recent increase in Ultra High-Net-Worth (HNW) individuals setting up family offices in Singapore. “Singapore is an attractive location because of its market stability, favourable tax laws as well as availability of talent pool for financial investors who are looking to tap on global opportunities to grow their assets,” D'Cruz adds.

As more HNW individuals choose to set up their family offices in Singapore, the local competition for talent in asset management will become more intense. Therefore, candidates with in-demand skills and experience will likely receive multiple employment offers. Companies that want to have an advantage in hiring top talent need to offer candidates with attractive career development opportunities and rewards.

hiring activities depends on market demand

Asset management companies are hiring talent selectively to service high-growth clusters based on industry and geographical regions.

Some of the fastest growing industries that are expected to remain resilient through the global trade war and changing regulations are technology, consumer, education and healthcare. The global demand for more innovative technologies, leading-edge consumer products, future-ready education and breakthroughs in healthcare solutions is responsible for driving high-volume of investments in these sectors.

Other areas of rapid growth include real estate, especially in emerging markets such as Indonesia, Philippines, Vietnam and India where city and residential plans are being fast-tracked to accommodate increase in local population size and market expansion plans.

Professionals who operate in these high-growth focus areas may receive multiple job offers from competing firms. Employers who are looking to hire this group of talent must be ready to offer a better salary and benefits package as well as entice them with portfolios that have high potential to thrive in today's market.

stand out with multi-language skills

Asset management firms that are based in Singapore tend to manage funds across multiple markets and regions. Therefore, candidates who have good appreciation of different cultures or are able to converse in different languages will stand out as ideal employees.

There is demand for talent who has a strong command in Chinese to manage markets in Greater China such as China, Taiwan and Hong Kong SAR. Individuals who are fluent in languages that are primarily used in Southeast Asian markets such as Bahasa Indonesia or Vietnamese are also highly favourable by employers who operate in those markets.

local talent with global experience and outlook

There is also a demand for local talent, especially for those who have had global working experience in high-growth markets.

“Employers are keen to hire local talent because of their understanding of the diversity and ways of working. Returning Singaporeans are also in-demand as they have a global network and accumulated exposure,” says D'Cruz, “Ultimately, people who can run the show, know the nuances of different cultures and can engage with people of diverse backgrounds are highly sought-after. Talent who can demonstrate adaptability and independence, meaning if they can work on their own or with minimum guidance will also be highly favoured.”

building a network in a new market

Attributed to the grants from the local government, the market could expect more new offices in the asset management space to serve the regional and global markets from Singapore.

It is feasible for these new companies to work with a recruiter to advise them on the availability of niche professionals and employer branding as they sometimes do not have an extensive enough network to attract talent to join them. Foreign owners also are unfamiliar with human resource legislation and practices in a new market, which is where a human resources specialist firm like Randstad can step in.

D'Cruz cited examples of how he helped HNW individuals set up family offices in Singapore. “Many investors choose Singapore to grow their assets but they may not necessarily have a thorough understanding of the local HR practices or work settings. We step in to help them start family offices in Singapore, by sharing advice on what to look for when hiring talent from this region, providing relevant market updates and guide them on how to recruit highly-skilled talent to stabilise the business. We provide a lot of value-add to our clients.”

an exceptional candidate with an open-mind

Talent who can juggle between their own job scope and assist with operational aspects of the business are highly-valued by employers who are looking to hire. This could be something as simple as covering their colleague‟s work when he or she takes a well-deserved holiday.

This flexibility to help with diverse set of tasks is especially valuable for small offices where teams are very lean. Employees may be called on to do more mundane tasks, such as ensuring bills are paid on time and office supplies are adequate.

“In a small family office where there‟s a team of three, if someone falls ill and you can cover for him or her even if it‟s not in your job scope, you will quickly become the ideal employee to other companies,” says D'Cruz.

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