The most surprising part of 2015 has been the M&A activity within insurance, which has been relatively quiet in the wake of the financial crisis but recent activity has shown that is no longer the case.
2015 has proved to be an exciting year for the insurance industry. We’ve seen steady growth with most companies still seeing a lot of growth potential in Asia, specifically South East Asia. With a focus on expansion, many companies have been relocating top talent from headquarters into Asia to help drive the growth. The hiring activity over the past year has been driven by a number of factors from a shortage of specialists, the rise in M&A activity as well as continued focus in growing Asia business.
The past year has seen a sharp increase in demand for international talent. This is driven by ongoing changes in the Hong Kong insurance market and a shortage of talent in areas such as actuarial and international financial reporting standards; as well as risk regulatory standards. In general there is a trend towards insurance professionals becoming more specialised. For example, some of the larger insurers have dedicated financial crime compliance specialists to start building up the Financial Crime team.
To attract international candidates, many insurers offer international mobility as well as 2-3 year contracts for expats - typically this is at senior manager level and tends to be professionals from the actuarial discipline, distribution channel discipline, or within change management. Change Management can include both strategy and project management where individuals work together with the group office or regional offices.
The most surprising part of 2015 has been the M&A activity within insurance, which has been relatively quiet in the wake of the financial crisis but recent activity has shown that is no longer the case. This sentiment seems to be changing and quickly as we've seen a number of high profile mergers and acquisitions led by overseas bidders tacking up European targets. We've also seen a number of China based PE firms scooping up assets globally, a trend that looks to continue when discussing with them their future plans. Insurance companies looking to deploy excess capital have looked towards M&A as a solution, diversifying revenue growth and fundamentally boost profitability in the face of ongoing economic headwinds as some local markets become more stagnant.
Permanent hiring continues to dominate Hong Kong’s insurance market. The contract market is viewed more negatively than it is the UK, the USA or Australia. Many overseas professionals come to Hong Kong on multiple year contracts with their current organisation before being sent back to headquarters.
Salaries within the insurance sector have remained stable and in line with inflation with general salary increments to be expected between 3 -5% for 2016, and at a higher rate of 10 - 18% with job moves externally. Candidates within the actuarial and risk space are highly sought and able to achieve salary increments at 20% or even more.
|Role:||Asst. Manager||Manager||Sr. Manager||Dept. Head||Exec|
|BASIC SALARIES (HK$ PER MONTH)|
|Actuarial||$40k - $55k||$45k - $75k||$65k - $90k||$110k+||$130k+|
|ORM||$36k - $46k||$50k - $70k||$75k - $90k||$120K+||$110k+|
|Compliance||$32k - $44k||$48k - $65k||$55k - $85k||$100K+||$110k+|
|Distribution||$25k - $40k||$40k - $58k||$52k - $82k||$80k+||$95k+|
|Audit||$38k - $48k||$46k - $74k||$58k - $85k||$95k+||$100k+|
|Marketing||$25k - $40k||$35k - $60k||$55k - $75k||$75+||$95k+|
|Finance||$34k - $45k||$47k - $65k||$55k - $83k||$90k+||$110k+|