Daily Dispatches - Singaporeans rank foreign hires their most pressing concern

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A new survey reveals that the issue of most concern to Singaporean nationals is the country's foreign worker policies and the dominance of foreigners in industries such as banking and IT.  

Singapore's Business Times reports the results of a new government-sponsored survey that revealed that while some people are worried that the tightening labour market against foreigners would damage small and medium-sized enterprises, others wanted to see even more tightening so that Singapore can further reduce its reliance on foreign manpower and pay more attention to grooming local talent.

Singapore recently tweaked its policy towards foreign hiring, making it mandatory, for instance, for companies to prove that they have tried to hire Singaporeans first before they are allowed to recruit a foreigner. This affects firms with more than 25 employees which are hiring for posts that pay less than $12,000 a month.

Many respondents voiced frustrations over the unfair hiring practices of some companies which they said favoured foreigners, and questioned the dominance of foreigners in industries such as banking and IT.

Singapore's capital market transactions surge

The Lion City has been having a good year when it come to ECM activity. A new report out by valuation and advisory consulting firm, American Appraisal showed that in 2013, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia recorded a total deal activity valued at US$59.4 billion spread across 670 deals, according to the Singapore Business Review.

Singapore recorded 365 deals worth US$34 billion for the year compared to 338 deals valued at US$28 billion in 2012. On M&A alone, Singapore registered total deal volume of 286 deals valued at US$28.1 billion in 2013. Cross-border deals accounted for US$24.5 billion spread across 204 deals, with inbound deals contributing to 61% of the total cross-border deal volume in 2013. 

Bad year for Hong Kong investment banks

Meanwhile in Hong Kong and China it was a somewhat different picture, with the Wall Street Journal reporting that investment banking revenue in China this year has slumped to its lowest level since 2009, even as overseas takeovers and bond sales by companies in the world's second-biggest economy rose to record levels.

A slowdown in share sales including initial public offerings, which tend to pay bankers more than bond sales, hit revenues for investment banks, as did a decline in fees from merger-and-acquisition activity.

Investment-banking revenue in China is down 12% this year at $3.19 billion, according to Dealogic, and is the lowest since 2009, when banking activity was in the doldrums after the global financial crisis.  

S&P warns of risks to Asian financial services firms

Asian Banking & Finance reports that Asia-Pacific financial institutions may face more hurdles in 2014 as pressure on the economic front is likely to bear down on their asset quality, according to a new bulletin from Standard & Poors.

S& P says Asia-Pacific financial institutions are now more exposed to local and regional risks than external risks such ashigh private-sector indebtedness in many Asian countries, meager economic outcomes from the region’s policies, a disorderly market reaction to the US tapering quantitative easing, and the eurozone debt problem.

“We hold the view that China’s slower growth could have spillover effects on other countries such as Australia, Indonesia, Taiwan, Korea, and Hong Kong.”

Hong Kong regulator to report on broking review

The Securities and Futures Commission is looking at ways to improve the conduct of banks' securities departments, with a report due to be issued in the next two to three weeks, says South China Morning Post.

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