SINGAPORE (Aug 6): Randstad Singapore says 2Q hiring activities have increased for front- to middle-back office operations in the banking & financial services sector, following a quarter of strong economic growth that was partly driven by the finance and insurance sectors.

According to the Randstad Banking Market Outlook Q2 2018 report, the trend of increased hiring was especially so among retail and wealth management banks, while hiring also accelerated within the investment management and private equity (PE) space, especially in sector-focused areas such as technology and life sciences.

Banks and insurance companies in particular have made it their first priority to grow their frontline sales so as to expand their retail and wealth management businesses, where Randstad observes strong competition particularly in the case of bancassurance and investment products.  

“While banks are driving towards digitisation to replace over-the-counter (OTC) service, the advisory business continues to rely on their sales force to help them attain market share,” notes the recruitment firm.

Following bonus payouts in 1Q, it appears that hiring activities have also geared up in the small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) and corporate banking segments, due to a demand for acquisition bankers focusing on cash products and loans in the SME banking space.

Relationship managers (RMs) with experience in serving middle-market companies were also highly sought after, according to Randstad’s findings.

While hedge fund and PE asset management firms also ramped up hiring activities for both front- and back-offices in 2Q, these segments sought candidates with in-depth knowledge and prior experience in emerging markets (EMs), or key sectors such as technology or healthcare.

Randstad however notes a more stringent talent selection process, with hiring managers increasing their recruitment budgets to secure the best of such candidates, due to limited supply of eligible candidates from the sell side.

In the compliance & risk field, the firm notes that Asian banks are doubling up on their controls and seeking to hire senior-level compliance professionals to navigate an increasingly complex environment.  

Yet, overall hiring activity for compliance talent is expected to slow over the next six to 12 months as companies look to explore technology integration and staff re-training to improve overall efficiency.

Analytics, in contrast, continues to play a pivotal role in the banking ecosystem for better informed business strategies and management decisions, according to Randstad.  

“With the increasingly controlled environment in Private and Wholesale business, professionals in the business and risk assurance were highly sought-after… There was a surge in demand for talent to support business and risk functions where banks continue to enhance the advanced analytics in marketing, customers, products and risk management,” notes the firm of its 2Q report findings on Singapore’s banking sector.