Banking professionals in Hong Kong command salaries surpassing Singaporean counterparts by up to 46%

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21st February 2024 – (Hong Kong) Hong Kong has emerged as the more lucrative financial hub over Singapore for professionals in the finance and technology sectors, with investment banking analysts reaping 46% higher earnings, according to a Bloomberg Intelligence (BI) analysis.

In a comprehensive salary comparison, BI revealed that analysts in Hong Kong enjoy an average annual income of US$92,149, significantly surpassing the US$63,305 earned by their Singaporean counterparts. This disparity is mirrored at the associate level, where Hong Kong professionals earn nearly US$123,000, standing 36% above those in Singapore. The report, drawing on data from recruitment specialists Michael Page, further indicates that executive directors in Hong Kong’s investment banks benefit from a 13% salary premium over Singapore.

The wealth management industry, despite being a burgeoning sector in Singapore, also sees a salary gap. Relationship managers in Hong Kong command close to US$128,000, which is 13% more than those based in Singapore. Bloomberg Intelligence, referencing a Hay Asia survey, attributes the salary discrepancies in the tech sector to a pronounced talent shortfall in Hong Kong. Roles such as AI developers and data architects attract notably higher remuneration there.

This financial edge could serve as a strategic leverage for Hong Kong as it wrestles with economic hurdles and vies with Singapore for regional dominance. The two city-states have seen a reversal in fortunes recently; Hong Kong is contending with capital and brain drain, as well as a tepid recovery linked to the mainland’s economic slowdown. Conversely, Singapore’s economy has surged ahead unexpectedly, becoming a magnet for regional headquarters and affluent family offices, according to BI’s observations.

Despite the shift, both cities continue to vie for international talent with competitive income tax rates. They offer similar tax brackets for low-income earners, but Hong Kong’s middle-income professionals may incur higher effective tax rates of 6.7% to 14.4%, as opposed to Singapore’s 3.9% to 12.8%.