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Buy-side candidates still clinching multiple offers in Singapore

In spite of the cooling economic outlook, venture capital firms and family offices in Singapore remain on a steady hiring trend for investment professionals and support roles.

The recruitment drive has declined somewhat in recent weeks, although conditions remain favourable. Candidates are typically getting multiple offers before making a decision, making it difficult for recruiters to fulfill client mandates.

“In terms of hiring, demand for investment talent is still decent. But things are happening a little bit slower, especially over the last couple of months,” says Sohail Kukar, managing consultant of banking and financial services at Ambition.

Kukar says the cooling can be attributed to the sharp plunge in global asset prices and cryptocurrencies since the start of the year. He expects the demand for family offices and venture capital firms expanding or setting up shop in the republic to underpin demand for new hires this year, although a soft patch can be expected in 2023.

Technology venture capital firm Altara Ventures, along with Sequoia Capital and independent venture capital firm Jungle Ventures remain active in fulfilling their recruitment goals. However, other firms are taking a more cautious approach. “If you are a smaller player or more of a start up, it is a bit more of a challenging market,” says Kukar, referring to the tendency of smaller firms to roll back or pause on their office expansion plans.

Among the major trends, venture capital firms are focused on recruiting investment professionals for roles geared towards agricultural technology (agri-tech) and healthcare technology (health-tech), whereas roles related to crypto have softened somewhat in the wake of the crushing downturn weighing on blockchain-related investments, according to Kukar.

“Web3 and crypto roles have kind of died down now due to the market situation, but last year that was probably the most in-demand investment hire,” says Kukar.

Family offices are also driving the hiring boom. Many of these firms are based in the U.S. or Europe and are opening a local office in Singapore for the first time. Many are setting up shop in an effort to tap the faster growth story in Asia, as well as part of an asset diversification strategy, he says.

Kukar says one US family he knows transferred a senior principal to oversee the Singapore office development. The remaining hires will likely be made up of a roster of investment professionals with experience working in Asia. “There is definitely a preference for the person to have a local or regional network and regional knowledge,” says Kukar.

Much of the hiring is focused on junior to mid-level roles, or those with experience ranging from between two to eight years. “It’s at an early stage in the Asian region, as opposed to the Western space which is saturated,” says Kukar.

Aside from growing cautiousness to expansion during the market’s downturn, some recruiters believe the rise in Singapore’s status as a wealth management hub will continue to attract new firms in the next six months.

Ed Goh, a headhunter who works with hedge funds at Principle Partners in Singapore, believes Singapore’s rise as a “nexus of the investment world” will act as a drawing card for asset managers ranging from private equity to family offices. These trends could drive growth despite the sombre mood in global markets, he says.

“We’ve got the overarching story of wealth moving to Singapore,” says Goh. We are seeing the trend of private equity funds are starting to tap into these sources of wealth for their fund raising.”

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

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AUTHORChris Oliver Insider Comment

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