The five banks to apply to first if you want a middle-office job in Asia

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If you’re looking for a risk or compliance job in Asia and think the ongoing hiring boom means you can take your pick of potential new employers, think again. We’ve trawled through global banks’ careers websites for jobs in Singapore and Hong Kong and can reveal that actually only five banks have ample openings in the middle office.

As the chart below shows, Standard Chartered, Citi, J.P. Morgan, HSBC and Credit Suisse are the top-five banks to apply to in terms of total risk and compliance job numbers in Singapore and Hong Kong combined – all have more than 40 vacancies.

If you are intent on joining the middle-office of a bulge-bracket investment bank, your options in Asia are largely limited to J.P. Morgan, Citi and Credit Suisse. Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Merrill Lynch have scant roles on offer – their Asian governance needs aren’t as large as those of firms like HSBC and Citi, who have a bigger corporate and commercial banking footprint in the region.

While last year’s compliance hiring spree at Standard Chartered now appears to be over (it has a mere 13 vacancies in the compliance-focused section of the above chart), the bank boasts an impressive 49 jobs in risk in Singapore and Hong Kong combined – 17 more than nearest rival HSBC. The most pressing risk-recruitment challenge for new Stan Chart CEO Bill Winters will be finding a Singapore-based head of operational risk.

HSBC is good bet if you want to step into a pan-Asian risk job based in Hong Kong. It has a regional head of reputational risk position on offer as well as a vacancy for a regional Volcker Rule control officer.

Citi (39 jobs) and J.P.Morgan (32) are the two firms bulking up their compliance teams most aggressively in Asia right now. Most of these roles are at the junior and mid-levels, although J.P.Morgan does need an executive director in private banking anti-money laundering compliance.

Credit Suisse is strengthening its middle office (20 jobs in risk, 24 in compliance) as it continues its wealth-management driven pivot towards Asian markets. Although just outside the top-five in overall job numbers, UBS is doing some serious senior hiring – it needs APAC heads of IT risk, employee conduct, and FX, rates and credit compliance.

BNP Paribas has a surprisingly high number (21) of compliance jobs – far more than European rivals Societe Generale and Barclays – including an APAC head of ALM treasury permanent control. While Morgan Stanley only has seven roles on offer, one of them is head of surveillance, regulatory inquiries and disclosures advisory for ex Japan APAC.

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