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Banking Tech Sector

Key trends:
  1. More “diversity” hiring: There has been a pronounced initiative by banks to bring in “diversity” candidates into technology. The last time we saw such a strong industry-wide drive was in 2007
  2. Increase in roles: Perhaps due to possible deregulation talk from the US, the market was quite active in the beginning of the quarter as banks wanted to hire plenty of IT staff into both contracting and permanent roles. Towards the end of the quarter, however, in the investment banking sector, there was some headwind due to vacations, and slower approvals of offers as candidates generally preferred to wait for their year-end bonuses. Overall though, we feel that it is still very much a candidate dominated market
Key skills and IT Centers:
  1. IT Centers: Barclays was hiring in Investment Banking in Japan and this will probably result in IT hires as business there expands. Rich Crossley (ex CIO, JP Morgan) is now Global Head of Equities Tech at UBS. UBS. UBS is also beefing up its development centers in China
  2. Sought after skills: Many banks are looking to build Trading Systems powered by Artificial Intelligence. As this particular application of AI is relatively new, such candidates are in demand and are quite hard to find. You can see an example at this Similarly, we saw big salary jumps for strong IT Security candidates as this talent is increasingly hard to source because of the ever increasing demand

Insurance Tech Sector

Ping An and IT Investment: It was a pleasure listening to Ericson Chan (CEO, Ping An Technology) speak at the RISE event in Hong Kong. Couple of interesting facts:
  1. 80% of their technology is on the Cloud and it takes them 150 seconds to deploy a tech stack
  2. They are investing heavily in Artificial Intelligence (specifically Facial Recognition and Voice – which Gary Vaynerchuk thinks is going to be the next big thing). Ericson described how a customer of Ping An used his mobile phone and their app to take a photo of his typhoon-damaged car and was paid out even before the typhoon disappeared!
Movement:
  1. AXA let go of around 250 people in technology in Hong Kong as part of their cost reduction plan. They have an IT Center in Manila and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia is becoming a place of choice for setting up Offshore Development Centers)

Interesting Tech News

  1. Moving further into the Cloud: Moving to Cloud-based solutions has been an upward trend in the past 2-3 years. Microsoft recently announced that it was laying off thousands of staff in favor of further bolstering its Cloud software, Azure. As a side note, here in Hong Kong, banks are laying the foundation to migrate their infrastructure to the Cloud but many are also waiting for official regulatory specifications from the HKMA in order to do so. Cloud adoption will most certainly spike once banks receive the green light from the HKMA

  2. Power of payment transfers in FinTech: What Jing Ulrich (MD, JP Morgan Chase) said regarding payment transactions in the RISE conference was pretty fascinating: The system JP uses which is Quickpay processes 94M payments per year whereas Tencent (which developed WeChat) processed 46 Billion just during the course of Chinese New Year

  3. Cryptic cryptocurrency: There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding Bitcoins and cryptocurrency. Bitcoins traded at a high price until recently and now it looks China might ban it. Jamie Dimon (CEO, JP Morgan) called Bitcoin a fraud. For some quality entertainment, here is an informative podcast by Radiolab about the mysticism surrounding a new ICO (Initial Coin Offering)

Hope you found this information useful. Please do contact us should you need more information.

We look forward to helping you.

Best,
Vince Natteri,
Managing Director

(on behalf of the Pinpoint Asia Recruitment Team)
 
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