News Article

Hong Kong Virtual bank hiring driven by data scientists

Virtual Banks are seeking data scientists and full stack developers for mobile and web applications.

With eight virtual bank permits granted in 2019, there is no doubt that an actual recruitment competition for digital banking staff is ongoing.

HSBC, which tops Hong Kong’s roster of Hong Kong’s largest companies, has seen a 6.9% increase from 29,000 in 2017 to 31,000 at the beginning of 2018. The Bank of China (Hong Kong), active in the online banking process, took second place, with 12,216 staff in the first quarter of 2019, up twofold from 2017. Hang Seng Bank took fifth with 8,679 staff, up 13%. Standard Chartered’s recruitment numbers stayed unchanged at around 6,000 but still ranked fourth, whereas East Asia Bank rose by 19.3 per cent to 5,376.

Overall, the number of employees of the top 20 Hong Kong banks increased from 85,981 in 2017 by 243.1 quarter to 295,005 at Q1 2019.

“Virtual finance was certainly the motto of Q3 2018 when many distinct financial services companies were willing to take part in the match,” said Eddie Cheng, Michael Page Hong Kong manager, noting that investment banks, local, Chinese wholesale and healthcare companies are the competitors who are most involved in cyber recruitment.

In specific, companies have sought to guide their increasing technology departments by IT executives and IT supervisors. Nevertheless, essential engineering professionals have shifted back from traditional abilities as the Fintech industry opens up, mainly as companies have realised that significant economic companies support most of the next digital loans. Position in demand now focuses on information science/analytics, electronic policy, UX / UI, internet safety, and pile growth.

“We plan to stay comfortable in 2019 and do not assume a rapid quantity rise. Much employment will take important positions rather than strategic / management roles, yet cybersecurity, web, information science and growth applicants must stay hopeful,” explained Cheng.

Riley King, Senior Manager of digital technology and accounting & management for Hays, noted a growth in the number of work posts for information researchers from 6 to 100 over the last two and quarter years in the study released in eFinancialCareers.

According to King, the most demanded job is complete pile designers for portable and web applications, as companies step up attempts to strengthen their front-office trading systems. Fintechs also rely heatedly on skills in digital payment systems, digital asset management, blockchain and cryptocurrency, according to the Hays Asia Salary Guide.

“Given the lack of local skilled applicants in the present financial technology arena, the relocation of superlative applicants from abroad was more versatile for both companies and start-ups,” the study says.

Hays advised however, that traditional companies could be disadvantaged owing to their dramatic interviewing procedures, less flexible work settings and bundles than startups can deliver.

One of the licensees of digital companies, Standard Chartered (SC), confessed that it used to recruit Europe, the United States and Australia, because of the severe workforce deficiency in Hong Kong. SC was prepared to establish its digital finance agency SC Digital Solutions with the formation of a joint undertaking with Ctrip Financial and telecommunications companies PCCW and Hong Kong Telecom (HKT). SC is now trying to increase its technology contract system for the forthcoming release of its digital bank. SC has said they recruited around 100 individuals and intends to incorporate another 40 individuals in their squad in six to nine months before their formal release, Harjeet Baura, the leading financial services consultant for PwC Hong Kong, reflects the view that digital companies only function as a boost to cyber recruitment.

We hope this pattern to proceed for the foreseeable future across the financial services industry, with traditional banking and insurance companies and new online banks and insurers aiming at capitalising on a surge of technology-led disturbance that affects all sectors,’ he said.

So far, eight digital loan permits have been issued by the Money Authority of Hong Kong, namely: Ant SME, Insight Fintech, The Fusion Bank (previously called Infinium), Livi VB, SC Digital, PingAn One Connect. Two of the authorised digital companies are supported by some of Hong Kong’s largest banks, namely the Bank of China (BOCHK), Standard Chartered and ICBC (Asia). The Ant SME Services Group supports Ant Financial Services.

In the meantime, Fusion Bank is being set up through a joint venture between ICBC, Hillhouse Capital and Tencent Holdings, a Chinese investment company. Insight Fintech has the support of the Xiaomi device company, which holds 90% of its joint undertaking, and the non-bank AMTD Group.

“We see[ digital companies] as a chance to discover fresh company designs and provide distinct clients with more adequate and creative facilities,” SC stated that its new digital bank would introduce a fresh business pile, complete pure client knowledge and complement its central bank. “We’re working on digitisation and partnership to strengthen our strategic benefit.

“While many digital companies will certainly exist, we think that the principal importance of lending will always be client confidence,” he clarified.

On the other side, there seems to be no plan for HSBC, classified as the biggest bank in Hong Kong, to file for a virtual bank licence.

“Today, we can not see any benefits when introducing a virtual bank service that is only available to our clients,” said HSBC Group CFO Ewen Stevenson at their post-result advisor conference in Q1 2019. “We’ve got Hong Kong’s largest mobile banking company.” The bank presently offers digital products such as its 2017 PayMe portable wallet. Stevenson defined this as Hong Kong’s biggest peer-to-peer payment car and even planned to become a customer site. He also disclosed that they spend US$ 1b to upgrade their retail banking phone systems across more than 20 of their industries.

The company also said they are engaged in hiring SMEs for a fresh electronic trading proposal.

Stevenson continued: “We’re not complacent, but like most of the markets in which we hold our position. Today’s biggest competition doesn’t consist of new, virtual banks.

Best Practices

According to a study from Moody, the development of digital companies could leverage a significant amount of knowledgeable technological clients along with the price benefits of branchless activities. It would also benefit from the dominant economic and technological assets of its sister businesses.

“These big states ‘ important Fintech holdings will enable them to provide competitive digital banking experience for destination clients of virtual companies. Also, big Banks generate substantial income from enterprises, including wealth management and corporate banking, with greater obstacles for virtual companies to enter,” he explained.

However, PwC’s Baura advised that digital companies must not rely entirely on their family members to obtain market share.

“A fresh digital bank will not provide the heritage of a major organization and facilities of a traditional company,” Baura said.

“The organisations will be highly customer-focused, riding and providing stronger customer experience and solving pain factors that traditional companies have not been able to fix.” Because digital companies can function at less cost, they now have more room to produce products and goods more competitively priced.

This is at the cost of traditional companies whose business models are jeopardised by the mixture of different customer experience with reduced prices. Moody’s said that the electronic breed of companies might be difficult for tiny and medium-sized companies, especially tiny companies and corporate clients.

Traditional loans must be prepared to show the same degree of digitisation as digital loans, suggests Baura.


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