The Funds Partnership Asia’s Salary Guide 2020 : Asset Management

5 Mar 2020

Director’s Note

So much has changed in 12 months since we last wrote our 2019 salary guide! We are now on the brink of a global pandemic and witnessing the largest work from home experiment in the world! In June 2019, in addition to the trade war uncertainties, we saw the Hong Kong spring of protestors who took to the streets creating a new dimension of political uncertainty in Hong Kong which has affected the confidence of investors.

Although 2019 started off very positively much like 2018, the above-mentioned uncertainties have hindered investment activity for our clients particularly in the second half of the year. The mutual tariffs imposed due to the US-China trade war affected the real economy, killed demand and affected real suppliers in China. This created more bad debts in China affecting the performance of fixed income portfolio managers especially those focused on the Hong Kong and Chinese market. As a result, there were increased redundancies for this asset class. However, interestingly, this gave rise to private debt fund managers who emerged promising to restructure private company debts and in some cases, we saw traditional bond houses build their private debt teams. Hence, the demand for professionals with restructuring and debt investment skills was higher than in previous years.

With the above in mind, we are not at all surprised that 70% of all our hiring was in the family office, private markets space. Despite all the uncertainties, Asia can still boast over 15 trillion of AUM and we still expect the funds industry to grow in Asia and meet the PWC estimation of hitting 29 trillion of AUM by 2025 resulting in good job growth across Asia. In Singapore, we anticipate many new jobs will be created due to the newly developed Variable Capital Company (VCC) regime introduced by MAS which looks set to create at least 10,000 new jobs by 2030. We are anticipating more jobs to relocate to Singapore and remain optimistic.

Market Overview

Overall, it has generally been a slow pace for the Asset Management industry. We witnessed an increased difficulty amongst our boutique to mid-size clients to raise new assets as investors continue to compress fees. We, therefore, anticipate more fund closures in 2020 as asset managers shift their focus away from long-only assets and into alternatives. Since 2019 Q4, Institutional and (Ultra) High Net Worth Individual (HNWIs) investors have expressed their interests in particularly in Fund of Funds in general and seek innovative fintech platforms in selection of such funds. With that, fintech firms that provide robo-advisory, wealth management, etc services are progressing at a moderate growth rate. With more big players establishing their funds on their platforms, we have seen much more collaborative business cooperation between fund managers (including those pivoting into the alternative or fintech realm), Financial Institutions (FI) and these distributors to establish easy access for the investors to such investments.

With the reduction in interest rates by the US federal reserve, US equities rallied resulting in an unprecedented bull market. This resulted in many Asian family offices wanting to hire US Equity portfolio managers. However, despite this, most asset managers found it extremely challenging to beat the returns of S&P 500 and other major US equity indices.

We also picked up a number of very well-funded FinTech firms promising to disrupt the wealth management and asset management businesses which resulted in greater activity than previous years placing Cyber Security experts, Data Scientists and Developers. In addition, we also saw a large movement of talent away from traditional jobs in banks and fund management companies towards the VC/Fintech industry. Many were willing to take pay cuts in return for greater job satisfaction.

We anticipate hiring for these new-age wealth management firms in roles such as investment counsellors, product or fund gatekeepers, product developers and/or specialists with strong structuring of funds expertise and an open, entrepreneurial mindset to be in demand. We also have seen a selective group of Private Banking RMs with strong structuring experience that has pivoted and presently cater to the UHNWIs.

Salary Guide


Read the pdf version of the Funds Partnership Asia’s Salary Guide for Asset Management here:

Funds Partnerships Asia Salary Guide 2020: Asset Management


To find out more about the Asset Management industry, please contact:

Justin Lee

APAC Consultant