‘Banker bashing’ could be damaging London’s appeal to executives in the financial services sector, a report has suggested.
The “bank friendly” environment offered by Eastern cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore is proving increasingly attractive to executives in the sector, with fewer of them naming London as the financial centre they most like to work in.
Singapore is named as first choice by a third of the 450 senior staff surveyed by Astbury Marsden, while one in five preferred New York and 19% named London. The capital had held 22% of the vote last year.
The Preferred Location Survey, which was also topped by Singapore last year, found Hong Kong was fourth on the list with 16% and Dubai was on 15%.
The West’s comparatively high tax rates and low wage growth for bankers are leading many executives to choose Eastern cities such as Hong Kong and Singapore.
Astbury Marsden chief operating officer Mark Cameron said the “anti-banker sentiment” in London and New York was also a factor in the rankings.
Cameron continued: “While some commentators have turned a blind eye to it, the increasing mobility of the workforce means that far more London-based bankers are now more willing and able to relocate the 6,700 miles to Singapore.
“Young investment bankers, without commitments of a family, now see a move to the Asia-Pacific region as a crucial step up the corporate ladder, rather than a hardship posting. We are increasingly being asked by talented candidates to find them roles in the Asia-Pacific region.”
Bankers are becoming increasingly confident that London will not be the biggest financial services centre in the world in the next 10 years. Only 20% believe the UK’s capital will wear the crown, compared to 60% of bankers who believe the Asia-Pacific region will be the leading centre.
Hong Kong (22%) and Shanghai (22%) were the most common predictions, while 16% expected Singapore to be the biggest financial centre in the world within the next decade.
Singapore’s share of the vote is particularly remarkable given not a single banker named it as most likely to be the world’s leading centre in the same poll last year.
Cameron believes Singapore’s large and established capital market, along with its close trade links with markets such as India, are helping it to grow.
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