How to earn HK$700k after just three years of working in Hong Kong banking

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How to earn HK$700k after just three years of working in Hong Kong banking

As an intern or new analyst in Hong Kong, you might be wondering about which banking roles could land you a salary large enough to actually live well(ish) in what Mercer ranks as the world’s most expensive city for 2020. Perhaps you want to move out of your parents’ place and rent your own ‘nano apartment’, or perhaps you’re worried about the political situation and want to build up a nest egg in case you want to move overseas in the future.

By the time you’re an associate (i.e. in about three years), you’d ideally like to earn a million a year…but you’d settle for HK$700k. Despite what you might think, this kind of pay packet isn’t a certainty across all jobs, even at global banks in Hong Kong.

So which (non-technology) banking roles potentially pay HK$700k or more to associates? We averaged out associate pay in mainstream banking functions across salary surveys from six major recruitment agencies in Hong Kong. We took the maximum figures from each firm’s associate-level pay range, so the salaries in the table below are for top performers.

Unsurprisingly, investment banking positions top the list. Associates in M&A and capital markets in Hong Kong, for example, can potentially take home HK$1,380k annually. Relationship managers in private banking and corporate banking still earn significantly less (HK$828k and HK$732k, respectively) than their counterparts in IBD, even though there are more severe talent shortages in those sectors.

Despite the rise of automated trading and recent job cuts in Asian equities, junior traders in Hong Kong are only slightly less well paid than their IB counterparts. Top performers can expect salaries of HK$1,308k on average, according to our analysis of recruiter salary surveys.

Can you earn HK$700k or more in the middle-office as an associate? Yes, but only in risk (market and credit). Compliance roles don’t make the cut, the local hiring boom in that function having faded out about three years ago, although jobs in anti-money laundering remain in demand.

Private banking product specialists round off our list. This is not as surprising as it may seem. Private banks in Hong Kong with large and diverse product platforms (e.g UBS, HSBC) are increasing their hiring of product developers to support the expansion of their banker teams. This surge in recruitment is helping to push up pay.

Photo by Manson Yim on Unsplash

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