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Singapore's Retail Banking salaries and recruitment trends in 2020

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

By: Marcus Tay, Banking and Financial Services

​​2019 IN REVIEW

2019 had been a great year for retail banking as the segment continued to show resilience and strength through decisions made by banks to improve operating leverage, along with net interest income playing a strong part. 

New locations and revenue models
Bank branches continued to be their primary points of service in 2019, with location affecting the attractiveness and profitability of each branch. Circumstances led banks to search for promising new branch locations and develop different models to drive revenue in the retail and premier banking segment. A “sky branch” model surfaced in FY18, where relationship managers were not based in branches, but at offices to reach out to customers through the phone and meet them at existing wealth hubs once the appointment had been made to review their financial profile. 

Demand for transparency
There was a growing tendency towards transparency in fees seen in the product offerings for retail clients, as demanded by clients themselves. As such, various platforms within banks had been forced to merge and create more synergy and win-win situations for all parties. 

Race for digital leadership
The glowing influence of fintechs and non-banks continued to push traditional banks to a race for digital leadership, especially in the area of retail banking. There had been a strong trend in online lending and deposits instead of through traditional branch services, and all parties were eager to capture this market share.

Key hires
Hiring in 2019 had been made mostly through revenue drivers for both onshore and offshore markets in wealth management. Technology hires in retail banking included specialists in open banking and APIs, as well as channel development and optimisation. 


In-demand: Bancassurance, treasury & investments 
In 2020, there would be greater competition to hire relationship managers in retail banking who hold close relationships with their clients. Revenue will mainly be driven through bancassurance partnerships, and relationship managers skilled in both bancassurance and treasury/investments would be in high demand. 

Performance incentives and measurement
There have been changes to sales incentive schemes across all financial institutions and it will be no different in 2020, as some banks have already moved from a commission scheme to bonus schemes for different segments. There will be continuous tweaks, not just to the sales but also for non-sales components to determine a relationship manager’s performance.

Move to private banking and buy-side
For senior relationship managers in the retail segment, many will be looking towards moving to the private banking space, as well as an increasing trend towards buy-side family offices offering a complete solution to high net worth individuals. 

Significance of emerging markets
Wealth in developing markets will be key in 2020, with many financial institutions looking for relationship managers with the ability to network in offshore markets. More often than not, there will be a strong uplift in compensation package to attract such talent.

Mobile and open banking continue on the rise
Technology hires will also play an important role in 2020. The two pillars of demand – mobile banking and open banking will see an increasing number of roles as Asian banks seek to follow open banking standards in Europe. Talent in the space is very limited in Asia, hence relevant candidates with experience would be highly sought after. 

The race for digital leadership in Singapore and across Asia puts banks neck to neck in competition for outstanding relationship managers and technology talent in 2020's retail banking space. 

In this current candidate short market, Ethos BeathChapman can partner hiring managers in identifying passive talent besieged with opportunities and provide guidance to all parties in your recruitment process. 

This 2020 hiring trends and salary report provides some advice to retail banking hiring managers on talent motivations, how to pay them right and competition that banks are up against.

For a tailored consultation or detailed discussion of total compensation, bench marking and structures, connect with me: 

Search here for jobs in Asia's banking and financial services industry.

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.

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:  

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