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How to get a family office job in Singapore

Singapore is welcoming more family offices than ever before, but not all of its bankers are equally in demand for the new jobs being created.

The city is a global center for wealth management, and private bankers aren’t exactly a new phenomenon. But government estimates put the number of family offices in the city somewhere around 700, nearly double the figure from just two years ago, and seven times the number from 2017.

"Family offices are seen as attractive places to work,” says Pierre Pineau, Singapore chief for Agreus, a recruitment consultancy that specializes in family offices. “They are increasingly becoming an attractive place for high caliber job seekers. But they are not right for everyone."

Finance professionals who work for family offices often struggle with what Pineau calls “the right cultural fit.” Family offices are small, and the dynamic between employees and the family is critical. The family can also be highly demanding. “Chinese families expect 30% returns YoY, which is usually what they are used to in China,” Pineau says.

How do you get these jobs? Traditionally, family offices are set up (and run by, initially) by the private banker which the family has had a long relationship with. But as things change, so do roles. “In more developed markets we see that family offices are more often hiring specific leaders with a function such as legal, accounting, and investment management,” Pineau says.

Most of all, Pineau says that family offices like to hire “investment specialists with strong product knowledge.” But the smaller the family (and the smaller the office), the jack-of-all-trades is prioritized. In a small office, a “mixed background of operations and investments is preferred, in order to save cost.” 

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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