Australians Working in Finance Look for the Asian Alternative

Dominic Bareham
March 31, 20085 mins read

1st April 2008 – For many Australians working in finance, the UK is the first and often only destination considered when contemplating whether to live and work abroad.

However Asia’s close proximity to Australia, rapidly expanding financial markets and opportunities for travel make it an attractive alternative for those looking to break the mould, says international banking and finance recruiter, Morgan McKinley.

The number of Australians living and working in Asia has increased by more than 50% over the last few years and international expatriates make up a staggering 31% of the total employment pool in Singapore alone. Strong economic growth throughout Asia has fuelled the development of the local financial markets and captured the attention of many of the world’s leading organisations, whether they are investment banks or blue-chip multinationals. The recently published Global Financial Centres Index ranked the top 10 global financial centres and listed Hong Kong and Singapore, in third and fourth place respectively, behind only London and New York. Tokyo came in ninth place above Sydney.

In recent years, an increased appetite from investment banks to relocate business functions, particularly back office support functions, to Asia has meant that local talent pools have not been able to keep up with demand. Therefore, opportunities for skilled professionals from outside these markets have continued to rise, with roles offering good compensation prospects.

Demand is strong within the financial services arena, specifically for individuals with good product knowledge for roles within product control, project management, operations, risk and IT for example.

In the commercial sector, financial accountants, business analysts and management accountants are particularly sought after.
Morgan McKinley, which operates globally and has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo says Australian finance professionals are in demand in Asia because of their sought after skills and strong work ethic. 

Louise Langridge, Joint Managing Director of Morgan McKinley’s Sydney office comments: “Whilst there continues to be some uncertainty in regards to the outlook of the global financial services market at present, there are still skills shortages and Australian accountants in particular remain very much in demand across the Asia-Pacific region. Financial institutions and blue-chip organisations value these individuals because of their internationally recognised qualifications, experience of mature financial centres and the good level of understanding of the local Asia-Pacific markets, which they bring with them.

If a candidate has worked in a rapidly expanding market such as Singapore, Hong Kong or Tokyo, it demonstrates to any future employer that they are adaptable and have overcome potential language and cultural differences to broaden their horizons.”

A Vice-President in fixed income derivatives at a top 10 investment bank who relocated from Sydney to Tokyo in 2006 says the Asian market can offer opportunities potentially unavailable elsewhere. “The financial services industry in Tokyo is a lot bigger than Sydney which means there are opportunities here that Sydney just doesn’t have. These include the chance to gain exposure to a range of financial products, some of which are even different to London. Tokyo is still an emerging market, therefore I’ve found there are a lot more opportunities to get a foot in the door of a big company which otherwise might be a lot harder in somewhere like London.”

It’s not just the career enhancing experience which is attracting Australians to Asian shores. A mix of great climate and lifestyle, good infrastructure, a highly skilled workforce, political stability and generally favourable tax rates have contributed to Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan’s ability to attract high-calibre finance workers.

A financial controller who relocated from Sydney to Hong Kong in 2007 says as well as the work experience, the lifestyle and travel opportunities on offer are numerous. “Australian businesses have a lot of ties with Asia so the market exposure I am gaining will be invaluable to my CV. I also like the idea of being part of Asia’s fast-growing world financial centre and the fact that Hong Kong is a gateway to other Asian countries like Singapore, Thailand and the Philippines. Travel is cheap, which means I have the added perk of being able to jet off to Thailand for the weekend!”

To help individuals find out more about working abroad, Morgan McKinley is holding a FREE seminar on Thursday 10 April 2008 in Sydney. The event is aimed at individuals working in finance positions within commerce & industry and those working in the financial services sector. It will provide details on the current job market and career opportunities as well as give practical information about relocating to Asia, the UK, Ireland and Europe, including visas and finding a place to live.

Event Details

What: ‘International Careers’ seminar hosted by banking and finance recruiter, Morgan McKinley
When: Thursday 10 April, 2008 at 6.30pm
Where: Radisson Plaza Hotel, 27 O'Connell Street, Sydney
Who: Individuals working within finance roles within commerce & industry and financial services
Cost: Free
To book: Call Gerard Gardiner on 02 8986 3100 or
For more information: Visit

Further press information:

Allira Carroll
Tel: +44 (0)20 7438 3143

Louise Langridge
Tel: +61 (0) 2 8986 3103

Alternatively, please contact the Press Office on +44 (0)20 7438 3150.

About Morgan McKinley

Morgan McKinley opened its dedicated financial services and commerce & industry recruitment office in Sydney in April 2007.

Morgan McKinley is the leading specialist in banking and financial services recruitment and operates from offices in Amsterdam, Edinburgh, London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo with sister companies in and Dublin. Morgan McKinley is the preferred supplier for over 300 financial institutions across its UK and international offices.

Services include Contingency & Retained, Interim, Temporary & Permanent and Campaign Recruitment in the following areas:

  • Alternative Investment
  • Accountancy and Banking Finance
  • Banking Operations
  • Commodities
  • Credit
  • Global Custody
  • Human Resources
  • Investment Administration
  • Investment Banking and Capital Markets
  • Investment ManagementLegal and Compliance
  • Private Wealth Management
  • Risk Management and Quantitative Analysis
  • Secretarial and Support

Morgan McKinley is a fully owned subsidiary of the Imprint Plc Group, which comprises ECHM, Imprint Search & Selection, WoodHamill Ingram, iQ selection, Morgan McKinley and Accreate. Imprint Plc has 11 offices in 9 cities across nine countries. Locations include Edinburgh, Birmingham, Dublin, London, Leeds, Manchester, Windsor, Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Singapore and Sydney.

Mon, 31/03/2008 - 12:00

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