On the back of aggressive expansion by new entrants, as well as rising demand for complex trade and cash solutions, recruitment rates in Asian transaction banking are showing no signs of slowing down.
Large commercial banks such as Citibank, HSBC and Standard Chartered continue to dominate the transaction sector and are aggressively filling positions, but the likes of BNP Paribas, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, and JP Morgan are also ramping up their teams.
Farida Charania, CEO, Nastrac, says while banks traditionally wind down their hiring at this time of year, 2010 seems to be a departure from the norm.
"We notice that banks are still on the recruitment trail due to the pent-up appetite from last year, when the trend was to watch and wait. A lot of banks started recruiting earlier in the year, but have not had enough time to fill all the positions they needed."
Mid to senior-level candidates with strong quantitative abilities, regional exposure, and knowledge of sophisticated products are most in demand and can command the highest compensation.
Tanya Sinha, senior consultant, Robert Walters, says many of the larger banks have established internal mobility programmes which have helped sustain their need for expertise.
"Transaction banking needs a large balance sheet and a lot of talent is from internal mobility. However, talent hired from the market has been given decent salaries and increments, indicating that banks are increasingly willing to pay for the skill sets that need to be supplemented," adds Sinha.
Charania expects the recruitment boom in the sector to continue into early next year, with more candidates moving following bonus payments. The pace may slow down after that.