Photographer: Noriko Hayashi/Bloomberg

Asia Banks Seeking Tech Hires Over 'Rock-Star' Bankers This Year

  • 40% of managers expect to increase IT jobs: Options Group
  • 18% intend to hire for investment banking, survey shows

Financial institutions in the Asia-Pacific region will be more inclined to hire technology specialists this year than investment bankers as they enhance product offerings and upgrade their systems, according to a survey by Options Group Inc.

Among regional financial-services managers, 40 percent say they expect to increase their headcount for information technology-related roles this year, according to a September-October survey conducted by the New York-based recruiter. By comparison, only 18 percent of the 380 managers surveyed intended to add jobs in investment banking, while 29 percent may do so in fixed income and equities sales and trading.

“The face of banking is changing,” Russell Kopp, a partner at Options Group in Hong Kong, said by phone earlier this month. “We’re at a juncture where increasingly it’ll be about technology, automation and big data rather than about the rock-star investment bankers.”

In a bid to cut costs and improve returns, global and regional banks such as HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and DBS Group Holdings Ltd. are increasingly using new technologies to offer more digital-banking services and upgrade their regulatory and compliance systems. Meanwhile, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Barclays Plc were among banks that cut investment-banking jobs in Asia last year amid a slump in deals.

“The reality is the future of where the highly paid people will be is not going
to be your salesperson, it’s not going to be your bankers,” Kopp said. “It’s going to be your tech people, it’s going to be quantitative professionals that can meaningfully develop or enhance top-line revenues.”

The responses in the Options Group survey covered financial-services managers at vice-president level and higher who work for banks, broker dealers and boutique firms in the Asia-Pacific region.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
LEARN MORE