Ebc Bfs Internal Audit

2020 Internal Audit hiring trends and salaries in Singapore's banking and financial services industry

An Ethos BeathChapman Banking and Financial Services perspective on what hiring managers should know in today's market.

By: Shalynn Ler, Banking and Financial Services


2019 had been a relatively stable year for the internal audit function within the financial services sector in this region. There had been a few changes at the global Chief Audit Officer level across Citi, Barclays, HSBC, and Aviva, with some impact trickling down to this part of the world. Changes were mainly relating to cost and location strategy. We also saw virtual banks coming into the picture in this region. How this affects the audit function will likely be visible in the next 1 to 2 years as regulators such as MAS and HKMA centre in on this.


Cost efficiencies and replacement justifications
2020 will remain a competitive year where firms will be focussing on keeping cost low. This can come in the form of remote audits or location strategy, as mentioned above. Traditionally, when someone resigns, headcounts are automatically approved in the same country, but we have seen it harder these days with the need to justify having replacement headcounts based in Singapore and Hong Kong, rather than a lower cost location such as Malaysia, the Philippines, or India, etc.

Audit analytics
We continue to see investments made in the audit analytics / innovation lab space. Most firms have a team of data analytics experts whose objective is to improve efficiency of the audit function, including efforts to ensure more continuous monitoring and a more consultative audit approach, rather than a traditional checkbox audit approach. This will likely be the hot area in 2020, even though most firms with a presence of such teams here in APAC have not made drastic changes to the total number of auditors. Consensus is that in the longer term, firms with an audit analytics team would need fewer number of business and IT auditors, but this remains to be decided over the next 2 to 5 years. 

Increased competition for IT auditors
Relating to the earlier point, we also expect to see a bigger turnover and competition for IT auditors as firms are competing for candidates with a strong IT background as well as controls mindset. The competition does not just come from banks and non-bank financial institutions, but increasingly also from fintech firms that will be looking for similar skillsets as they set up their risk and compliance teams within this region and require technology savvy candidates. This is especially so for the bigger fintech players that may be more heavily regulated than start-ups, and those that may be looking at getting more funding and/or looking at IPO or M&A.

What does this mean to hiring managers?

In this 2020 report for the internal audit function in Singapore’s banking and financial services industry, we provide advice on retaining your team and paying them right.

Connect with me if you would like a tailored consultation or discuss total compensation, bench marking and structures in detail: 

Search here for the latest career opportunities in Asia's banking and financial services sector.

Related content:

2020 Banking & Financial Services hiring trends and salaries
This complete 2020 Banking and Financial Services report encompasses hiring trends and salaries for front, middle and back office functions.

More from Shalynn Ler: 

2020 Corporate Banking salaries and recruitment trends in Singapore

About Ethos BeathChapman, EBC:
We are a global group of executive recruitment experts in Australia, Asia and EMEA, with a network beyond. We connect exceptional people to exceptional companies. Established 2005 in Sydney, our multidisciplinary expertise covers corporate and specialised functions across Banking and Financial Services, Fintech, Technology, Legal, Risk, Compliance, Healthcare, and Consumer recruitment markets, among others. For more information:   

EA Licence No. 16S8112 | RCB No. 201135765R