BANKS STEP UP HIRING IN HK TO SNATCH BUSINESS IN CHINA
Global banks, funds and other financial services providers say they are stepping up hiring in Hong Kong, in a sign the city’s unique position as a financial gateway to China is outweighing concerns about Beijing’s tightening grip over it, Scott Murdoch, Alun John and Kane Wu reported for Reuters.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., UBS AG, and other banks are each hiring hundreds of people in the city this year, adding substantially to their existing ranks. Citigroup, for example, has said it is bulking up its staffing by 1,500 people, including additional headcount and replacements in 2021, double the number of people it hired a year ago.
It has about 4,000 people in the city. A Goldman spokesman said the bank, which has about 2,000 people in Greater China, expects hiring in Hong Kong to be up 20% this year.
The Securities and Futures Commission, Hong Kong's market regulator, is seeing a rebound in licenses it issues for people involved in asset management, securities, and other financial activities, according to data on its website.
The total number of licenses it issued was up 1.7% at the end of March, compared with nine months earlier, and just shy of an all-time peak in 2019.
"Hong Kong has some unique advantages, and it will remain the gateway for many of our local and global clients to access China," said Kaleem Rizvi, Head of Citi's Asia-Pacific corporate bank.
Many financial companies slowed hiring last year, after protests against Chinese rule and a new security law imposed on the city to crush dissent by Beijing, as well as the coronavirus pandemic, six bankers, recruiters and other industry executives said. The increased hiring plans of some major players show that they are now willing to live with the political risks.
"Everyone in the business community I have spoken with welcomes the peace and stability now, compared with the chaos of 2019," said Weijian Shan, chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-based private equity group PAG.