The story appears on

Page A11

April 27, 2015

GET this page in PDF

Free for subscribers

View shopping cart

Related News

Home » Business » Biz Special

Financial firms gain the most as bankers quit over pay and perks

BANKERS at China’s top state lenders are quitting in increasing numbers because of cuts to their pay and perks, and moving to a new breed of financial firms such as leasing companies, trusts and online platforms, bankers and headhunters say.

As part of an austerity, anti-graft drive, China last year dictated pay cuts of up to a half for senior-level state bankers. Some state-owned lenders have since quietly cut salaries across the board.

The declining popularity of bank jobs could make it difficult for state lenders to hire and retain talent, making them less able to compete with newer lending institutions.

“In the past we wouldn’t see CVs from the state sector, but now we do,” said Maggy Fang, managing director of executive compensation Asia Pacific at Towers Watson, a professional services company, noting that most of these resumes are from mid-level, 30-something bankers. And they are good news for the newer finance firms.

“If an applicant is from one of the big five (state banks), they will have good training and are likely to have experience of trading systems and customer credit,” said Zhao Shen, deputy general manager of the risk management department at the leasing arm of shipbuilder China CSSC Holdings.

He said his firm has hired from banks and plans to hire more. “We can guarantee we’ll pay them more.”

At Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, one of China’s top-10 listed banks, a broad 10-20 percent pay cut at headquarters this year triggered a rush for the exit and better-paid positions elsewhere, said two bankers still at the Pudong Bank. “You only find out someone’s left when you don’t get an e-mail reply,” said a junior banker who plans to quit once he has found somewhere to go.

The bankers said most teams at the Pudong Bank had been impacted, with fixed income and the foreign currency trading desk at head office the hardest hit, both losing four employees this year, taking their numbers down to around 20 and 46, respectively.

A spokesman for the lender said there had been no change in policy, and salaries had increased as well as fallen. He declined to detail banker departures.

Fifth-ranked Bank of Communications said in January it would link larger portions of pay to performance, prompting “many” to leave, bank employees said.

A mid-level banker at a state-owned lender can typically earn 600,000-800,000 yuan a year (US$97,000-129,000), according to Tower Watson estimates, though bankers said the range on average was lower. Staff get five days annual leave. In contrast, online finance platforms, trust firms and leasing companies offer more than double those salaries, longer holidays and fewer travel curbs; staff at state banks have to hand in their passports and request approval to travel abroad, which can take up to a month. Even senior bankers at the Bank of China, for example, may only travel abroad once a year on business, two bank employees said.

President Xi Jinping’s clampdown on graft and extravagance has also eaten away at traditional perks at state banks. “Before, over Chinese New Year, we used to get coupons for food, fruit or money, but now there’s almost nothing,” said a BOC branch banker.


Copyright © 1999- Shanghai Daily. All rights reserved.Preferably viewed with Internet Explorer 8 or newer browsers.

沪公网安备 31010602000204号

Email this to your friend