Front Office Banking Trends for 2020

Front Office within banking plays a critical role in our financial economy. Riding on the extended growth periods regionally over the last few years, most institutions have bulked up their front office headcount in the following functions: wealth management, corporate & institutional banking, investment banking, asset management, and private equity. Being the key revenue drivers, the front office workforce can be regarded as the “face” of their employers due to their role in acquiring and establishing client relations.  

The pandemic has inevitably exposed certain vulnerabilities and opportunities, which need to be addressed to enable greater resiliency, sustainability and efficiency for this sector. We spoke to our expert, Yik Jia Hao, Associate Business Manager of Huxley Singapore who shared his experience in the field, and his outlook of trends which are expected to evolve in the coming years.


Meet Yik Jia Hao

Yik Jia Hao comes with 14 years of banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI) experience mainly within front office functions. This included his venture into recruitment upon returning to Singapore after his recent four-year stint in China as a consultant for several Chinese banks.

“The notion of being a ‘broker in talent’ intrigued me. It gives me an opportunity to hone my sales skills in managing an unpredictable product – talent, while learning the art to draw out the potential in candidates. It encourages me to understand the unique selling point of each client and their organisation, while ensuring that there is always a value-add in their talent hunt”, he shared.

With more than a decade of experience within the sector, it is clear to him that with despite challenges within this global pandemic, there are also various opportunities to be reaped.


COVID-19 accelerating the growth of Front Office

Despite the challenges COVID-19 has brought, opportunities can also be reaped for companies to tide through this period and encourage innovation. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), Singapore FinTech Association (SFA), AMTD Group, and AMTD Foundation launched a new "Fintech Solidarity Grant" to help fintech firms ride through the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure they can continue to innovate alongside financial institutions. MAS API Exchange (APIX) platform, an online marketplace and sandbox, will also enable fintech, financial services and insurance companies to integrate and test applications on a cloud-based platform. The industry will not be impeded by COVID-19 but in fact is has accelerated the growth.

Thus, whether you are an expert within the traditional banking space, or in an advanced fintech business, both markets will grow in appeal.

Yik shared, “Within the Front Office space, it’s not all doom and gloom in 2020. Some banks may have implemented hiring freezes and are in the midst of reviewing their talent acquisition strategies for the next few years, but the upcoming few months will be more about backfilling essential roles and for hiring managers and HR to sit down and have a review on hiring needs and organisation structure.”

During this interim period, it is the perfect time for you to review your current role, career path and skill-sets. Set aside time to consider short-term career paths and identify potential weaknesses in your profile. Preparing yourself now would be essential if you intend on making your next big career move, or if your company decides on building your team headcount.


Tips for organisations

No.1 – Don’t stop interviewing. This rule applies whether you have headcount approvals, or not.

While your organisation begins planning a post-COVID strategy, it is also crucial for hiring managers to assess the market and current talent pool. Speak to headhunters who have the most recent market-intel. Find out who are the hot profiles, but also recognise that the global working conditions and talent pool have changed significantly over the last few months.

For those with headcount approvals, digital onboarding is definitely possible to familiarise new employees with their new tasks through targeted training and discussions despite a global pandemic. Yik, amongst many others were too digitally onboarded with us in Huxley. You can read more about his experience and tips here.


Tips for talent who are looking for a new role

Yik gave us a sports analogy to describe the current circumstance – “this is pre-season draft and you need to impress the right scout for your desired role.”

Make use of this time to:

  • Identify and enhance your strengths – make a list of your project achievements over the last few years and notable skillsets you have gained;
  • Identify your next move and research the industry demands and role requirements;
  • Work on your weaknesses to build up your profile and get noticed during the draft trials.


Want more relevant updates?

As we navigate through the course of this pandemic, the jobs market is set to change time and time again. We aim to keep you as informed and up to date as possible whilst supporting you with your recruitment needs throughout this challenging time – whether it’s to hire or seek a new role.  

Please feel free to get in touch to discuss anything on the above or to find out more about the recruitment services we offer, and if you are looking for the next step in your career then keep an eye on our live roles.

If you would like to find out more information about the market outlook within the sector, please leave your details below:

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