Singapore Legal In-House Financial Services 2018

Singapore Legal In-House Financial Services 2018

about 1 year ago by Amanda Ansell

We are pleased to announce the publication of our Singapore Legal In-house Financial Services 2018.

Please click here to view the PDF version.


The Aquis Search Singapore Legal In-house Salary Survey 2018 details salary information and recruiting trends in the business sectors we cover. Our information has been researched and collated with the help of our clients and candidates and from our working knowledge of the marketplace. Aquis Search consultants have extensive expertise in their practice area and the information reported is based on telephone interviews with hiring managers, HR professionals and in-house recruiters as well as data extracted from our own database and internal research resources. As with all reports that detail salary information and trends, we represent the mainstream view and we recognise there will be individual situations that fall outside the data published. This survey is therefore a guide to general movement in the sector. Please contact us for further information or for clarification on any of the compensation trends detailed in this report.

Corporate Banking

The corporate banking recruitment market remained relatively stable throughout 2017. Regional banks have seen the most hiring activity with demand specifically from Chinese banks who continue to offer competitive base salaries and significantly larger bonuses compared with European and American institutions. 

There has been some rationalisation due to organisations driving efficiencies and forcing costs down. Justification for replacement hiring still remains high in most cases, but many organisations are distributing work instead of automatically refilling them.

Investment Banking

2017 continued in a similar vein to 2015 and 2016 with the consolidation of many firms, investment banks and trading teams in order to focus on core markets. 

Regulation changes continued to drive the market with organisations seeking candidates with regulatory knowledge in relation to financial products as the MAS and international regulatory authorities evolve exisiting standards or introduce new and increasingly complex standards. 

Investment Banking

Level/No. of Years Experience Monthly Base Salary (SGD Bonus
Minimum Maximum
0-2 Years 8,000  11,000  1-2 months 
3-5 Years 10,500  18,000 1-3 months
6-8 Years 17,000 25,000  2-4 months
9-11 Years 20,000 30,000  2-5 months
12+ Years 25,000 40,000  3-6 months


The derivatives/ISDA sector was buoyant in 2017 in terms of job flow but on the whole the market has been very candidate driven. Candidates with knowledge of derivatives or Dodd Frank remain in short supply and in response there has been a change in the mindset of recruiting organisations. There is an emerging trend in offering 12 month contracts as opposed to permanent positions, making this a challenging area to recruit for. 

Steady job flow is a result of high turnover in this area as opposed to growth as candidates want more exposure to the derivative transactions market than just the negotiation side. 

ISDA Negotiators

Level/No. of Years Experience Monthly Base Salary (SGD Bonus
Minimum Maximum
0-2 Years 5,000  8,000   1-2 months 
3-5 Years 8,000 12,000  2-4 months
6-8 Years  10,000  16,000   2-5 months
9-11 Years 14,000 20,000   2-6 months
12+ Years  16,000 25,000  3-6 months

Private Banking

Singapore remains a key area for the region in Private Banking but this wasn’t reflected in hiring activity in 2017. The sector has experienced continued consolidation of portfolios rather than organic growth. Candidates with local regulatory experience are sought after and we have seen a movement of candidates from the investment banking industry across to private banking.

Private Banking

Level/No. of Years Experience Monthly Base Salary (SGD Bonus
Minimum Maximum
0-2 Years 7,000 10,000 2-4 months
3-5 Years  8,000   15,000  3-6 months
6-8 Years 12,000   20,000  3-6 months 
9-11 Years 16,000   23,000  3-6 months
12+ Years  20,000  35,000   5+ months

Asset Management

Positions within asset management and private equity remain coveted from a candidate perspective but the barrier to entry remains high. Historically, candidates from investment banks and fund management were able to make the transition across, but companies are currently looking for asset management and private equity experience. 

Organisations in these sectors are generally lean, and in most cases legal teams are stand alone, with the exception of the larger asset managers which may employ a number of qualified lawyers.

Funds/Asset Management/Investment Management

Level/No. of Years Experience Monthly Base Salary (SGD Bonus
Minimum Maximum
0-2 Years 7,000 10,000 1-3 months 
3-5 Years  9,500  14,000 3-6 months
6-8 Years  13,000  20,000  4-6 months
9-11 Years  18,000   26,000   4-6 months
12+ Years  22,000    35,000  6+ months


The Insurance sector remains one of the busiest sectors within financial services. Hiring is mainly a result of consolidation and restructuring as opposed to growth, and the industry is still very candidate driven as there is a limited pool of Singaporean trained lawyers with Insurance experience. 

Due to the constant changes in regulation, we expect organisations will now look at candidates with financial services experience.


Level/No. of Years Experience Monthly Base Salary (SGD Bonus
Minimum Maximum
0-2 Years 5,000 7,000 0-2 months
3-5 Years 6,500 12,000 0-3 months
6-8 Years 9,000  16,000  1-3 months
9-11 Years 14,000 25,000  2-4 months 
12+ Years 15,000 35,000 4+ months

Forecast for 2018

We expect the trends we have witnessed in 2017 to continue into 2018, and we expect the market to be shaped by regulatory and consolidation/transformation trends across all financial services institutions. 

There is little expectation of organic growth however, there is a limited talent pool in business partnering positions so there will be a steady flow of roles for top candidates who can add value to the bottom line. 

Singapore remains a dynamic and innovative hub which attracts multi-national organisations looking to take advantage of its geographical location that provides access to multiple regional markets