U.K. Investment Bankers Prefer to Work in Singapore

U.K. Investment Bankers Prefer to Work in Singapore
Office workers walk through the central business district of Singapore. Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

Investment bankers in the U.K. favor working in Singapore over New York and London, where they face lower wage growth and higher taxes, according to recruitment firm Astbury Marsden.

Thirty-one percent of respondents chose Singapore as their most favored location, followed by New York (20 percent) and London (19 percent), the recruiter said in its annual “Preferred Location Survey.” Hong Kong and Dubai got 16 percent and 15 percent, respectively. The survey found 60 percent of bankers expect the Asia-Pacific region to be the largest financial center in 10 years.

“A fast growing, low-tax and bank-friendly environment like Singapore stands as a perfect antidote to the comparatively high-tax and anti-banker sentiment of London and New York,” Mark Cameron, chief operating officer at Astbury Marsden, said in the statement. “Financial centers in the West have taken a real battering since the start of the financial crisis.”

Financial-services firms in London have come under intense pressure from governments and regulators to cut compensation amid public anger about trillions of dollars of taxpayer assistance to banks, including the U.K.’s Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc and Lloyds Banking Group Plc.

London’s financiers may receive 2.3 billion pounds ($3.6 billion) in bonuses for 2012, the lowest in more than 14 years as their firms deal with weak trading conditions and job cuts, the Centre for Economics & Business Research Ltd. said in May.

“Cities like Singapore and Hong Kong have been quick to capitalize on setbacks in London and New York, courting investment banks and reacting to demand from expats and tourists for facilities such as sporting, music and other international events,” Cameron said. “This has made them popular destinations for expat investment bankers and hedge fund staff.”

Astbury Marsden surveyed 462 people in late July.

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