The Hong Kong tycoon adding to Singapore’s hiring boom

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The Hong Kong tycoon adding to Singapore’s hiring boom

The boom in Singapore family office hiring shows no signs of abating, with rising demand for front-office staff.

“Each family office may have a relatively small headcount, but collectively their recruitment needs are starting to add up as more of them establish operations in Singapore,” says a headhunter.

The latest firm to announce that it’s setting up a Singapore office is Horizons Venture, the family office of Hong Kong’s wealthiest tycoon Li Ka-shing, which plans to have as many as 10 staff based in the Republic, according to Bloomberg. This reportedly includes senior investment manager Jacky Li and portfolio curator Jeffery Ho.

Singapore’s reputation as a safe haven has made it an appealing base for North Asia’s ultra-rich to park their assets. However, Horizons Ventures says its Singaporean expansion is motivated by the country’s advantages as a regional hub for investors. Singapore introduced the tax-efficient Variable Capital Company (VCC) legal structure in 2020, designed to attract the assets of family offices and fund managers

The family office sector has been undergoing strong growth in Singapore, with about 400 family offices currently operating there. High profile Western family offices have also launched, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s Bayshore Global Management.

But hiring staff for new family offices isn’t easy. “We are facing a candidate shortage,” Lim Chai Leng, senior director in banking and financial services at Randstad Singapore, told us earlier this year.

As well as needing relationship managers, family offices need people with skills in estate planning, trust structures, and estate administration. Their expectations are high: the typical family office is seeking candidates with 10 or more years of experience, a deep network of contacts, and the right cultural and linguistic skills to work with regional high-net worth clients.

While family offices can in theory poach people from private banks (for example, Mark Chan left UOB private bank to join Pyxis Wealth Advisors in March), they struggle to compete on the salary front. The industry’s allure centres around having a direct impact on clients and being able to take a holistic view of their wealth needs.

Photo by Duy Nguyen on Unsplash

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