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Good time for bad news

Zafar Anjum | Nov. 13, 2008
Even institutions not affected by the sub-prime crisis are letting their surplus staff go

SINGAPORE, 13 NOVEMBER 2008 If you are reading about stories of mass lay-offs and staff firings in the banking and finance sector a lot lately, don't be too surprised.

Because we are in a perfect storm, says global recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore in its Market Watch 2008 (November) report on the financial services.

It is a good time for bad news, the report says and corporate communications hope that negative news discharged now will get buried amongst the melee.

Even institutions not directly affected by the sub-prime are exploiting this opportunity to do housekeeping by letting surplus staff go, the report notes.

Impact of mergers and acquisitions activities

According to the report, because of the mergers and acquisitions following the financial crisis, roles in settlements, helpdesk and management information systems (MIS) will be affected.

Predatory institutions are swooping in on refugee bankers who have been displaced in the aftermath, according to the report.

It also highlights that Singaporeans will have to get used to contract work as banks can no longer be seen hiring permanent staff in one location while letting others go in another.

According to the report, because of the tightening regulatory frameworks, governance areas such as audit, compliance and operational risk will prosper. Legal and documentation experts should still find themselves useful, it suggested.

Impact of increased government spending

As all governments are trying to spend themselves out of recession', banks with full licences in Singapore are better positioned to exploit the business opportunities brought about by current government spending. The report also suggested that more investment bankers are expected to move into commercial banking as SMEs stand to prosper the most in these cases.

Striking a far more serious note, the report's editor revealed that some weary bankers had  told the recruitment consultants that they seriously considered career moves away from banking into other areas such as hospitality with many willing to consider a pay cut in exchange for greater sanity and stability.


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