Salaries for compliance and risk experts to jump as competition heats up

07 March 2013


2013 Salary Guides published by Robert Half reveals average salaries of ten high-potential jobs in finance, accounting, financial services and technology

Hong Kong, 7 March 2013 – New regulations, global economic uncertainty, and organisational streamlining are changing the hiring landscape in Hong Kong, from the point of view of both employers and employees. The newly-released 2013 Salary Guides from leading specialist recruitment firm Robert Half report that professionals with experience in compliance and risk management will continue to be in high demand as companies navigate unprecedented regulatory shifts while growing their core business. Although the salaries of some finance and accounting roles will remain static, credit risk and compliance/anti-money laundering professionals can command healthy pay increases of up to 30% this year.

The level of hiring in the first half of 2013 is likely to remain stable, and available positions will primarily be replacement roles rather than newly-created ones for many companies.

The 2013 Robert Half Salary Guides cover two key sectors of the Hong Kong economy:

Banking and Financial Services: covering roles in financial institutions, including risk, compliance, finance and accounting/control, operations, and technology;

Commerce and Industry: covering accountants, finance, credit, tax and treasury professionals working in a range of industries.

Banking and Financial Services

According to the survey findings released as part of the 2013 Robert Half Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide, 47% of senior financial services leaders within the banking and financial services sector are planning to increase salary levels in 2013.

One area within the financial services sector that is particularly buoyant is the demand for compliance and risk professionals as evident by the fact that 96% of the survey respondents had found managing regulatory changes very challenging or somewhat challenging for their businesses.

Compliance / Anti-Money Laundering

Job Title 2013 salary range % rise over 2012
Analyst HK$ 330,000 - $ 528,000 14%
Associate / Manager / AVP HK$ 517,500 - $ 920,000 15%
VP HK$ 960,000 - $ 1,800,000 20%
SVP / MD HK$ 1,800,000 20%

Credit Risk

Job Title 2013 salary range % rise over 2012
Analyst HK$ 330,000 - $ 528,000 10%
Associate / Manager / AVP HK$ 495,000 - $ 880,000 10%
VP HK$ 977,500 - $ 1,495,000 15%
SVP / MD HK$ 1,495,000 15%


Pallavi Anand, Director of Robert Half Hong Kong said, “The large foreign banks – the ones that felt the brunt of the 2008 downturn – will continue to be subdued in their hiring activity, having already replaced many of the roles that were cut during the crisis.  It will be the emerging Asian banks that are expected to be the most active in the job market in 2013. Chinese banks in particular, will ramp up recruitment in 2013. We are also seeing a strong demand for technology staff, including developers and IT infrastructure specialists within the financial services sector.”

“Bonuses are not expected to rise significantly.  The average increase is expected to be 5.4% among those who are expecting bonuses to increase.”

Commerce and Industry / Commercial

Within the commercial sector in Hong Kong, 59% of the Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Finance Directors (FDs) who were surveyed indicated that they are planning to raise salary levels during 2013, according to the 2013 Robert Half Finance & Accounting Salary Guide.

The demand for finance and accounting talent within the commerce and industry sector remains strong, particularly for healthcare, pharmaceutical, retail, IT services, marketing and media companies. There is also demand for professionals with a track record of supporting internal functions to streamline processes, as well as tax, treasury and credit professionals who can add value and improve cost efficiency.

Ms. Anand added that finance and accounting professionals working in the commerce and industry sector can also expect modest improvements in their bonuses. The average increase is expected to be 5.9% among those who are expecting bonuses to rise.

Employers and Employees Taking a Cautious Approach

Amid global economic uncertainty, companies are taking longer to fill positions and this scenario will likely continue into the first half of 2013.  As managers battle to justify each hiring decision, they are becoming more demanding with the level of skills and experience that they are willing to accept.  This means that candidates will often find themselves facing multiple rounds of interviews before a hiring decision is made.

“Employees in the financial services sector are becoming more apprehensive about changing jobs.  In the past, career choices may have been primarily influenced by financial rewards, but the importance of job security and stability when candidates are making decisions is growing.  Candidates also have higher expectations in terms of workplace culture and career development opportunities nowadays.”

Employee retention and keeping staff motivated should remain top priorities in the current environment where companies are still cautious about their hiring and remuneration plans. While salary is not the only factor employees consider, an attractive and competitive remuneration package can often be the difference between attracting and keeping talented employees in your team and losing top performers and the valuable institutional knowledge these individuals possess,” concluded Ms. Anand.  

Most Promising Jobs in 2013

The following are ten promising jobs in Hong Kong based on the Robert Half 2013 Salary Guides:
1. Compliance / Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Professionals1  (HK$330,000 – HK$1,800,000 )
2. Credit Risk Professionals1 (HK$330,000 – HK$1,495,000 )
3. Treasury Accounting Specialists1 (HK$310,000 – HK$1,110,000 )
4. Internal Audit Professionals1&2 (Financial Services: HK$315,000 – HK$1,320,000 ; Commercial: HK$216,000 – HK$1,600,000)
5. Controllers2 (HK$600,000 – HK$1,200,000)
6. CFOs / Finance Directors (HK$960,000 – HK$2,800,000)
7. Financial Planning & Analysis Professionals2 (HK$216,000 – HK$1,300,000)
8. Developers1 (Lead Software Developer: HK$600,000 – HK$1,200,000)
9. IT Infrastructure Specialists1 (HK$480,000 – HK$960,000)
10. IT Project Managers1 (HK$480,000 – HK$1,000,000)

For more information on the most current remuneration data for finance, accounting and banking professionals in Hong Kong, the Robert Half 2013 Salary Guides are now available here.

12013 Banking & Financial Services Salary Guide
22013 Finance & Accounting Salary Guide

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