RETAIL BANKING | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Hong Kong's sought-after bank relationship managers demand 30% wage hike

The Greater Bay Area project has fuelled demand for such candidates.

Growing demand for Financial Institute Relationship Managers (FIRMs) at Hong Kong banks has prompted experienced candidates to demand as much as 30% in salary increases, according to a report by Hays.

The Greater Bay Area, which refers to an ambitious integration project linking Hong Kong, Macau and 9 cities in the Mainland, has fuelled demand for relationship managers (RMs) with the right expertise, leading to a manpower shortage.

“[F]or these candidates there is an escalating battle between companies attempting to secure their services,” said Hays, adding that some companies have even lowered admission barriers by admitting RMs with experience with SMEs to handle larger portfolios.

China’s Belt & Road Initiative (B&R) which will link 70 countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and Oceania is also expected to add to the growing chorus for RMs.

Such levels of demand has prompted candidates to take advantage of their scarcity and become aggressive with their salary demands, added Hays.

A separate report by Robert Half notes that nearly a fourth (24%) of chief financial officers in Hong Kong believe that the B&R Initiative will entail higher salaries for in-demand professionals in the financial services sector.

And banks would have to strike a balance to secure their needed talent to move their business forward, added Hays. “But whatever lengths companies in Hong Kong’s banking industry go to in order to attract the talent for these crucial roles, go to them they must, because with the massive upheaval that these Chinese initiatives are likely to cause, the candidate pool is only going to become more stretched.” 

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