Hong Kong & Singapore Legal Private Banking Salary Survey 2015

Hong Kong & Singapore Legal Private Banking Salary Survey 2015

about 4 years ago by Aquis Search

We are pleased to announce the publication of our Hong Kong & Singapore Legal Private Banking Salary Survey 2015.

Please click here to view the PDF version.

Hong Kong

Hong Kong remains a global wealth management hub with over forty private banks in the city providing services to an increasingly affluent population. Growth through acquisition has become more common as players seek market share and remain viable in a competitive marketplace. Additional regulatory pressure has created a demand for lawyers with non-contentious background in contrast to the usual product lawyer requisite. There was a handful of newly created roles at the VP level which were primarily filled by those coming from leading law firms seeking a perceived better work life balance. Movement between private banks was less common however at the senior levels almost mandatory. Lawyers moving from the  investment banking into private banking has become more common given the perceived stability of the industry, along with perhaps an opportunity for a new challenge. Mandarin requirements are strongly preferred along with HK qualifications and crucially the right personality fit. The usual larger brands in the market typically house upto five plus lawyers in a team whilst the boutiques can have as little as one person. Compensation levels have been rising at a steady rate with some private banks now paying higher on base then their investment banking peers, however bonus structures tend to be less aggressive. We expect to see more newly created regulatory positions to emerge in 2015 as banks respond to the demands of the regulators and potentially more lawyers moving into senior compliance positions.


Singapore is a major private banking hub with over S$550 billion of wealth being managed by the industry along with predictions that the city will become the largest manager of offshore wealth by 2020. The industry is vastly competitive with investments in human capital and increased regulatory scrutiny pushing up the cost of doing business. Banks have adopted different strategies to overcome the cost and like Hong Kong we have seen a number of acquisitions as banks look to develop larger platforms to sell their products and services. Hiring at the mid to senior level remained common place (5-10 yrs PQE) and lawyers within the asset management and investment banking industries have been recruited, along with those that have strong financial services regulatory exposure. Locally admitted lawyers were in demand although employers were flexible enough to consider candidates from overseas jurisdictions whom had the relevant experience and the right cultural fit. Team sizes varied from a sole counsel up to six and often composed of a mix of skills and experience. Like Hong Kong, salaries have been steadily rising with some now on level with their investment banking peers, although bonus tends to be more conservative. Those at the 8-12 PQE range command the largest increments (upto 20 - 30%) whereas the senior lawyers are focused on a combination of salary and career advancement factors when considering a move. We expect more demand for lawyers in 2015 as the banks respond to increased regulatory pressures and growth in the industry.

Salary ranges in Hong Kong

Level/ No. of Years
Monthly salary range (HK$)Bonus
2-4 years80,000110,0001-4 months
5-7 years110,000140,0002-4 months
8-10 years125,000165,0002-5 months
11-15 years140,000200,0003-6 months
15 years +160,000250,000+5+ months

Salary ranges in Singapore

Level/ No. of Years
Monthly salary range (SG$)Bonus
2-4 years8,00010,5002-4 months
5-7 years10,50015,0003-6 months
8-10 years12,00018,0003-6 months
11-15 years15,00022,0003-7 months
15 years +18,00035,000+5+ months