Banking in Asia: Hong Kong vs. Singapore.
Asia is pushing hard to attract banking talent with a strongly incentivised pay structure: when compared to other regions, the bonus to salary ratio is the highest in Asia. Emolument.com looks at 2014 bonus season results so far and reveals which location reaps better rewards.
Base salary only - any differences?
In terms of base salary, Hong Kong is more attractive at all levels from junior Analyst to Managing Director, with the biggest gap between the two locations visible at Analyst and Associate levels, with a 43-54% pay gap. So, Hong Kong wins hands down if you are starting out as a young banker in Asia.
And what of bonuses?
Even when taking bonuses into account, Hong Kong leads by a wide margin (except at Director level), with total compensation gaps of 54% at Analyst level and 37% for Managing Directors. A huge difference!
Both Hong Kong and Singapore have low personal income tax rates by international standards and are unaffected by the recent EU bonus cap rules. While we are likely to see declining bonuses in Europe, banks in Asia should remain free to incentivise their employees as they see fit. Therefore, a long-term career move to Hong Kong is likely to let bankers earn more through sizeable bonuses, and keep more thanks to a more lenient taxman.
The lure of the Asia has been a key factor during the recent financial crisis as bankers in Europe and North America have looked East to seek out better career opportunities. Both Hong Kong and Singapore look like attractive propositions but it is interesting to note that remuneration can be significantly different in each centre. Something to bear in mind when considering that expat offer.
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