It’s a metaphor in banking to say you work harder than anyone else. on this site at different times, French bankers They made this claim, as did German bankers, as well as French bankers who operated in London in the 1980s. But when bankers in Hong Kong and Singapore complain about their extraordinarily hard work, it may not be without reason. Banking jobs in Asia Pacific are genuinely tough.
Craig Cobbin, former co-head of global capital markets for Asia Pacific at Bank of America, explains what makes it so stressful. “When you work outside of Hong Kong as the financial center of the Asia-Pacific, it’s a very different experience than working outside the US or Europe. “As he says.” Markets in the Asia-Pacific region are very heterogeneous without much in common, and need to be aware of local issues and the critical mass of people in each individual market such as Australia, Japan or India. “
Cobain spent most of his career in London, before moving to Hong Kong in 2020. He says Hong Kong jobs are more complex because senior bankers in the Asia-Pacific region need to be aware of the dynamics of the different markets they cover. “There’s a lot of common practice now across European jurisdictions – customer offerings are made similarly, and European regulatory systems are comparable, for example. “
The pandemic and strict lockdown in Hong Kong spared Cobain the need to travel while he was in Hong Kong, but in normal times he says bankers in the Asia-Pacific region also have one of the most grueling work schedules in the world. “ It takes 14 hours to travel from India to Australia. It is similar to Europe, but more intense. The markets in Europe are more similar and the distances are smaller.”
And even when you’re not traveling, there are calls—especially when you work for a US bank. “You will usually have very late night co-workers with New York or the West Coast of America, and need to be very flexible about your availability. Banking hasn’t been a 9-to-5 job before, but it’s much more intense in Asia because of the time difference,” Cobben adds.
By comparison, London bankers in particular are relatively easy going. They do not have to travel to Europe as in the past, and can speak to both Asia and New York during normal business hours. ✨
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