At the end of 2020, when Ray Dalio and James Dyson announced to opening a family office in Singapore, we witnessed a hiring boom in the Singapore family offices space. In 2021, another positive news sprouts within Singapore; as Google co-founder Sergey Brin sets up a new branch in Singapore - joining the rush of uber-wealthy clans and their move towards the Southeast Asian financial hub.
"Selby Jennings has made more family office hires in 2021 so far than it did during the entirety of 2020," says Andrew Zee, SVP of Selby Jennings, at a recent interview with eFinancial Careers. Singapore introduced the tax-efficient Variable Capital Company (VCC) legal structure last year to attract the assets of family offices and fund managers. Since then, there has already been an estimate of around 400 single family offices operating in the country as of December 2020.
The Key Trends in 2021
AUM/Money Flows into Singapore
Compared to Hong Kong, the government's policies such as VCC further boosted Singapore's attractiveness to Asia's wealth this year. "There is an in-flow from North Asia into Singapore across the last year. We are seeing front office and revenue-generating roles growing in demand," said Zee.
We had previously talked about private bankers coming home. In 2020 Singapore's population report, it showed that an increased number of overseas Singaporeans had returned home. "When we speak to the Singaporean returnees, the pandemic is one of the top reasons that drive them home," said Zee.
FY20 and Replacement Headcounts
The year 2020 was a bit of a shock for everyone, we had not experienced anything remotely similar to Covid-19 since the 1981 influenza pandemic. In FY 20, there were headcounts that were not filled. "FY20's unfilled headcounts, and also replacement headcounts that were lost due to restructuring/redundancy across various roles, are happening this year. Businesses simply cannot just stop and wait," said Zee.
The Challenge Ahead
Nevertheless, as recruitment increases, family offices are facing challenges finding talent within Singapore. This is because they are often competing with expansionist hedge funds and private banks. “There is a strong overlap in talent for portfolio management/investment management roles in all three sectors. Managing AUM across multi-asset classes is a key factor to all these firms,” says Zee. “But there are still differences among the sectors, and candidates who are keen to shift may find it challenging getting up to speed as we are nearly halfway through the year,” he adds.
Read the original interview at eFinancial Careers.