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What your corporate banking salary and bonus should be in Hong Kong

Do you have a corporate banking relationship manager job in Hong Kong? Do you want to know how your salary and bonus stack up, to help you decide whether you might be better off at another firm?

We’ve averaged out Hong Kong corporate banking salary surveys from four recruitment agencies to produce the table below, which shows average annual base pay (and bonus percentages) from analyst to director level. We excluded low-range pay, so the numbers don't reflect the salaries of RMs who are underperforming.

The annual salary levels for RMs in our table owe much to the most recent hiring boom in corporate banking – roughly 2010 to 2013 – when a competitive job market helped to push up pay, says John Mullally, director of financial services at recruiters Robert Walters in Hong Kong. If you're a VP-level corporate banker in Hong Kong, for example, your salary should be around HK$1,215k. Directors take home about HK$1,748k in base pay.

More recently, global banks in Hong Kong have been shedding underperforming RMs and there’s been enough talent on the market to meet banks’ needs. If you change banks, expect a pay rise of about 10% to 12%, say recruiters. That’s a far cry from the increments of 20% or more experienced earlier in the decade.

Top-performing RMs, however, can earn more than the market average and still snare decent pay rises. But demand is now focused on RMs with mainland corporate clients rather than local or multi-national ones. “People with large books of Chinese clients are best positioned when it comes to pay negotiations,” says Mullally.

As we reported in September 2019, several banks (most prominently HSBC) are expanding across the Greater Bay Area (GBA), the sprawling economic region of Southern China that includes Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Guangzhou and other cities. As a result, there’s increased demand for Hong Kong-based corporate bankers with GBA client networks, says Wisely Wong, senior manager of banking and financial services at Hays. Corporate banks want relationship managers who can bring “immediate connections”, but these people are hard to find because most Hong Kong RMs service local companies, says Wong. Pay rises of 20% to 30% are on offer for GBA bankers, and corporate banks are willing to relocate RMs from the mainland to fill these roles.

As a rule, global corporate banks in Hong Kong – the likes of Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered – still tend to pay higher salaries than their Asian rivals. But Asian firms are currently recruiting more aggressively and can offer better potential bonuses. “Bonuses for Chinese, Singaporean and Japanese banks in Hong Kong continue to be competitive. They have higher bonus ranges than US and European banks,” says a Hong Kong-based recruiter.

How much do corporate bankers earn in Hong Kong?

Image credit: Matthieu Bühler, Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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