Q3 2019 Accounting & Finance Recruitment Trends

Joanna Huang October 23, 20196 mins read

Your quarterly update on the Accounting & Finance market, where we provide you with insights from both the previous and upcoming quarters.

Funds Services:

What were the market trends for last quarter?

1) Fund Accountant roles within Real Estate & Private Equity 
- There are a number of growth within the fund services as more established fund houses are looking to outsource their fund accounting work to service providers 
- There has also been quite a number of hiring within Real Estate & private equity fund accounting within the mid to big buyside firms as there were a number of movements after the bonus payout
2) Corporate/Group Accounting roles within Fund Management 
There are a few hiring junior to mid level accounting roles for family office, hedge funds, private equity firms as they move their offices to Singapore due to a growth in their investments across ASEAN/APAC
3) Tax roles within Fund Management
There are a number of fund management moving their tax positions here in singapore as they set up their office here, they need talents with strong MAS and tax knowledge across Singapore. Therefore, I have seen a couple of hiring in senior level roles. 
4) Treasury finance 
There are quite a number of hiring within treasury as there is a demand in looking at the cash flows of the accounts, cash management and hedging activities. This is an interesting role that sits between the front and back office.

Accounting & Finance Recruitment Trends

What are the major skills in demand?

Fund Accounting:
- Within the fund management and fund services are constantly hiring talents with  SPV/NAV calculations knowledge within Private Equity & Real Estate 
- Double entry accounting knowledge is essential for junior candidates with 2-3 years of experience who are keen to take on a fund accounting role within fund industry 
Accountant: 
- There is a constant hiring for accountants for fund management firms as they need a strong individual to manage the entities of the firm. Hence, there are more clients who are open to hiring people with audit background or someone with financial services background. 
Tax: 
- Understanding of tax regulations and tax returns within  fund management is the most important part

What are the skill gap shortages?

As fund management is a niche industry, there are only a small pool of candidates who are specializing in this sector. 
1) strong fund accounting knowledge within hedge funds & private equity
2) Strong system knowledge for example YARDI for real estate. Fund Services & Fund Managements has been constantly trying to automate certain reports as they are trying to move away from manual processes hence finding a strong system knowledge individual within fund accounting could be difficult 
3) fund accountants without CA/CPA/ISCA 
There are higher demands from the fund management firms who hires

Accounting & Finance Recruitment Trends

What is the outlook for the next quarter?

During Q4, the market will starts to slow down as most people will wait for their bonus payout in Q1 2020. 

There will be more smaller to mid size hedge funds, venture capitals and family offices looking to hire Fund Accountants to join their team however most hiring will only resume in Q1 2020 once they are certain their fundraising are done. 

There will be more senior hiring moving forward such as CFO positions as I have seen a few fund managements from Hong Kong have plans to move over to Singapore. 

There will be more junior to mid level treasury roles as it plays an important part to the P&L of the business in fund management.

Banking Services:

What were the market trends for last quarter?

Spike in demand for Regulatory Reporting candidates, due to changes in MAS regulatory requirements.

As offshoring of Finance production functions continue, employers are increasingly looking for candidates who can perform both Finance and advisory/front-office-facing roles.

Merger of teams/functions within the larger banks - e.g. Regulatory Reporting and Financial Reporting merge / Product Control and Valuation Control merge.

Given the technological advancements society is currently undergoing, banks are increasingly in need of IT-inclined candidates, to support them on automation initiatives among other projects.

What are the major skills in demand?

The major skills in demand are as follows:
MAS Reporting - subject matter expert and technical skills
Financial Reporting - relevant IFRS knowledge and Financial Accounting skills
FP&A - business partnering skills and relevant product knowledge
Product Control - advisory skills and relevant product knowledge


In most roles, business partnering and advisory skills have seen an increase in demand, due to the offshoring of production functions. As banks continually aim to improve processes, IT-inclined candidates have also recently been more highly sought after.

What are the skill gap shortages?

As the Financial Services sector continue to become more innovative by adopting new technologies, the skill gap in IT will inevitably be felt.

The Global Financial Crisis that took place in 2007, partly resulting in cost-cutting measures such as offshoring, has also caused a skill gap in what was once a production-demanding market, but now more stakeholder management demanding.

As teams are made as lean as possible in the current Financial Services environment, it has become increasingly difficult to identify strong and technically-skilled candidates, due to the small size of most teams in banks.

Accounting & Finance Recruitment Trends

What is the outlook for the next quarter?

As banks continue to restructure to remain competitive, attrition could be expected. However, with the bonus period - February - around the corner for most banks in Singapore, candidates will be hesitant to move and forgo their bonuses, should the amount be hefty. That being said, the market will likely become more candidate-shy.  This will probably result in a more employee-driven market, as candidates will tend to weigh up their options before making any career move. At the same time, for urgent hiring, employers may resort to employing on an interim basis.

Joanna Huang - R1659350's picture
Consultant | Finance, Asset Management & Fund Services Recruitment
joannahuang@morganmckinley.com.sg

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