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View Profile’s latest recruitment insights and reports on the talent landscape across our key markets - Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai and Beijing.

INSIGHTS

As thought leaders, we provide you with meaningful insights and strategic research on your relevant markets. 

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Profile Event: 'Building Change-Ready Teams'

PROFILE EVENTS WITH YSC: 'BUILDING CHANGE-READY TEAMS' Profile was delighted to have Rob Morris, YSC Consulting's Chief Innovation Officer, visiting from New York to host back-to-back events in Singapore and Hong Kong on the topic of 'Building Change-Ready Teams’ in June. In addition, Rob delivered on this topic at our Shanghai events in September. See videos below to view the highlights. Rob outlined the principles for building modern teams and designing them to operate like a network. He discussed how the challenges of constant change can be countered in organisations to build a climate that promotes collaboration, smart risk-taking and equal contribution - the building blocks of change-ready teams. Co-hosted with YSC, our Breakfast Seminar and Roundtable Lunch events were held on Wednesday, 6th June 2018 at the National University of Singapore Society (NUSS) and the Tower Club in Singapore, on Thursday, 7th June 2018 at the China Club in Hong Kong, and on Thursday, 13th September 2018 at the Fairmont Peace Hotel in Shanghai. Feedback from selected professionals in attendance was extremely positive, with many expressing that the presentation was both informative and inspiring. Breakfast Seminar: Building Change-Ready Teams (Singapore) Breakfast Seminar: Building Change-Ready Teams (Hong Kong) ABOUT ROB MORRIS​ Rob draws on more than twenty years’ experience leading, consulting with, and studying organisations to develop YSC’s innovation strategy. A seasoned leadership strategy consultant and published expert in the executive development arena, he works closely with leaders of Fortune 500 and FTSE 100 companies in the areas of CEO succession and coaching, executive team alignment, and organisation change. Currently based out of New York, he has worked in more than twenty countries and across a range of industries. Rob holds a PhD in Social-Organisational Psychology from Columbia University, where he continues to serve as an Adjunct Associate Professor, and a BSc in Leadership Studies from the United States Military Academy, West Point. ABOUT YSC Founded in 1990, YSC are a leadership consulting firm, comprised primarily of consultants with backgrounds in psychology and the behavioural sciences, working with organisations to unlock the power of their people. They have over 100 consultants operating from 20 international YSC offices. ​To learn more about YSC, please visit http://www.ysc.com.
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Profile Event: 'Coaching Cultures - How do they add value?'

PROFILE BREAKFAST PANEL DISCUSSION WITH ICF HK: 'COACHING CULTURES - HOW DO THEY ADD VALUE?' In partnership with the International Coach Federation Hong Kong (ICF HK), we hosted a Breakfast Panel Discussion on: 'Coaching Cultures – How do they add value?' The panel consisted of four Talent and HR experts (see below for bios) and was facilitated by Daniel Hutchinson, an ICF HK Board Member. Each panellist shared their experience on what has and hasn't worked when engendering a coaching culture within organisations. Some of the key topics discussed include: Why do organisations invest in coaching? How do you get your business case approved? How to practically implement and assess the impact to the bottom line? The event was held on Thursday, 11th October 2018 at the China Club in Hong Kong. It was a fantastic turnout with more than 100 Talent and HR professionals in attendance. From left to right: Facilitator Daniel Hutchinson with panellists Carolyn Yim, Philip Wixon, Fiona Wong and Stephen Pennicott. The panellists provided deep insight and led an interesting discussion, with attendees given the opportunity to partake and ask questions. ​ From left to right: Facilitator Daniel Hutchinson, panellists Carolyn Yim and Stephen Pennicott, Profile's co-founder Richard Letcher, and panellists Fiona Wong and Philip Wixon. THE PANELLISTS Carolyn Yim, Head of Learning, Standard Chartered Bank After 12 years' working in senior Talent Management and Leadership Development roles in a global capacity for Deutsche and UBS in New York, Carolyn has recently returned to Hong Kong, where she first started her career in Learning with Merrill Lynch. In 2018 Carolyn took up the Head of Learning role at Standard Chartered Bank. Fiona Wong, VP, Head of Talent, Asia, MetLife Spanning a career of 20 years in both Asia and the US, Fiona has broad experience across the HR and Talent functions including a group level Talent Management role at PepsiCo in New York and a Head of HR role for L’Oreal’s Consumer Products Division in Shanghai. For the last 3 years Fiona has been with Metlife as their Head of Talent, Asia. Philip Wixon, SVP, PMO and Group Executive Office, Li & Fung Philip is an accomplished consultant and business leader with over two decades of management, IT and HR consulting experience gained at companies such as Andersen, Infosys and Hewitt Associates. He has worked and led projects across Asia, the Middle East, UK and Australia. Philip currently works as a SVP, PMO and Group Executive Office at Li & Fung. Stephen Pennicott, Group Head of Talent and Development, Nord Anglia Education Stephen has over 20 years’ experience working in APAC, predominately in senior Leadership and Talent Development roles. For 10 years he worked at the Swire Group, developing and implementing key talent programs across the Group. In 2018 he joined Nord Anglia Education as their Group Head of Talent & Development. ABOUT ICF HK The ICF HK Chapter exists to lead the advancement and highest degree of excellence of the coaching profession in Hong Kong (we will do it “Together as One”). ​To learn more about ICF HK, please visit http://www.icfhk.org.
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Profile Supply Chain & Operations Market Update, Singapore, Sep 2018

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Supply Chain & Operations job market in Singapore. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement. ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE Singapore’s economy advanced at a slightly better than expected 3.9% in the second quarter of 2018 compared to a year ago, according to the Ministry of Trade and Industry Singapore's latest announcement in August 2018. Quarter two growth this year was supported primarily by manufacturing, wholesale trade, business services and the finance and insurance sectors. Specifically, the manufacturing and services sectors continue to fuel Singapore's growth in the second quarter of 2018. All the manufacturing clusters saw growth; however, the biggest contributors were the electronics and biomedical manufacturing clusters. For services, the finance & insurance and wholesale & retail trade sectors were the solid performers. The Ministry of Manpower reported that the labour market continued to expand with net growth in total employment, while unemployment and retrenchments in the second quarter of this year remained lower compared to the same period a year ago. However, the unemployment rate has increased compared to March 2018, which saw the lowest unemployment rate since March 2017. Retrenchments may rise as restructuring and reorganisation within organisations gather pace. MARKET TRENDS There continues to be strong demand for Supply and Demand Planning professionals as companies seek to improve their S&OP processes. Candidates with experience in Automation and Streamlining Supply Chain processes have been highly sought after for jobs within the e-commerce, logistics and manufacturing sectors. The logistics sector in particular has seen many global companies investing in both infrastructure and talent, with the aim of making Singapore a distribution hub. Singapore is a regional or global headquarters for many major logistics companies. This creates a vibrant ecosystem of leading shippers and third-party logistics providers (3PLs) in Singapore and, as a result, many firms have set up innovation hubs. Demand for Logistics professionals remains high as these companies actively drive innovative activities and new supply chain solutions for their customers. As companies develop their capabilities by engaging in, and integrating into their systems, smart processes, there has been a rise in demand for professionals who are well versed in Data Analytics, Automation, Robotics and 3D Printing. The increased use of technology to deliver better experiences and accelerated performance has certainly become more important. Robotics, AI and other digital technologies such as automation, blockchain, cloud, IoT, automation and 3D printing are creating new capabilities in modern supply chain and gaining momentum in many companies. This is due to their ability to increase efficiency, reduce costs and boost employees' productivity. As a result, Supply Chain & Operations professionals with experience in Supply Chain Transformation and change management will continue to be sought after. As organisations continue their efforts to drive process improvements in the supply chain and operations function, demand for Process Improvement professionals with a proven track record in reducing costs for organisations will increase. Project Managers along with Continuous Improvement and Solution Implementation professionals with relevant certifications (PMP, LEAN/Six Sigma) continue to remain in demand. With the explosive growth of e-commerce, consumers have come to expect a modern day retail experience associated with affordability, convenience, flexibility and speed. This has created a growing need for Logistics professionals with expertise in last-mile delivery solutions and supply chain analytics. The Trade and Customs function will see an increased importance for many companies as a result of ongoing trade tensions and its potential impact on trade and supply chain flows. With the evolving threats being faced globally in relation to safety and security, there has been an increase in hiring for Safety and Security professionals. This has been especially true for companies with widespread physical facilities in the region. Professionals with expertise in enhancing security standards through the use of security technologies have become well sought after. Candidates with demonstrated Business Partnering skills have been increasingly in demand, especially within the supply chain and manufacturing functions. With the fast-changing and dynamic climate brought by organisational transformation and post M&A, companies have been placing greater emphasis on hiring talent who demonstrate adaptability, nimbleness and willingness to embrace change. THE FUTURE As we enter the second half of 2018, there is heightened economic uncertainty in light of ongoing trade tensions between major economies. The trade tensions between the United States and China could have huge implications on heavily integrated and globalised supply chains. Moving into the second half of 2018, slower market growth is anticipated due to several factors including ongoing trade tensions, slowdown of key final demand markets such as US, Eurozone and China, and an expected normalisation of monetary policy in the US. In line with developments in the global market, it has become increasingly important for professionals to remain agile and responsive to emerging technological trends, economic restructuring and the evolving workforce landscape. NOTABLE PLACEMENTS Profile’s recent completed searches in our Supply Chain & Operations practice include: VP of Procurement Regional Supply Chain Director VP of Health & Safety Director of Operations Business Process Re-engineering Lead Supply Chain Manager Regional Planning Manager Regional Health and Safety Manager Senior Manager, Trade Compliance Customer Service Head KEY CONTACTS For more information about hiring trends in Singapore, please contact the Supply Chain & Operations team. Yvonne Goh, Regional Director T: +65 6513 2511 E: ygoh@profileasia.com Shyan-Hwei Phua, Associate Director T: +65 6513 2510 E: sphua@profileasia.com Matthew Chan, Associate T: +65 6513 2515 E: mchan@profileasia.com
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Profile News: Artificial intelligence at work - Is senior leadership ready for change?

The Human Resources Online article, 'Artificial intelligence at work: Is senior leadership ready for change?’, discusses key findings from our ‘Working in Asia’ 2018 report. The article is extracted below. ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE AT WORK: IS SENIOR LEADERSHIP READY FOR CHANGE? One-third of managers across Singapore (37%), Hong Kong (36%), and China (32%) are fairly on-the-fence about the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) at the workplace – saying it will create and destroy roughly an equal numbers of jobs. This data was unveiled at the launch of research by Roffey Park and Profile Search & Selection, titled Workplace in Asia: Key HR and leadership priorities for 2018, attended by Human Resources. It features views from managers and non-managers across Singapore (1,064), Hong Kong (584), and mainland China (283). Unfortunately, more than half of managers in all three regions do not think their organisations currently have the skills and expertise to take advantage of AI (56%, 55%, and 51% respectively - see below). The common thread in the research comments on this aspect is around senior leaders recognising AI as an opportunity; however the gap exists between this recognition and being able to take action and make full use of those opportunities. Seen here is Alex Swarbrick, regional director of Roffey Park Asia Pacific: Another aspect of preparedness surveyed was diversity, where an overwhelming majority in the three regions surveyed (79%, 85%, 81%) agreed that their organisation is accepting of differences. Over three in five respondents also believed their organisation is effective at attracting, recruiting and retaining individuals from diverse backgrounds. Respondents were also relatively more confident in managers becoming more skilled at working with people from diverse backgrounds compared to a year ago. However, save for mainland China (57%), fewer than half of managers across Singapore (46%) and Hong Kong (42%) agreed that their senior leadership team has sufficient diversity. Additionally, when the survey was first launched in 2014 in Singapore, HR managers deemed diversity and multi-generational issues not as important at that time. But they thought that it will become more pertinent in five years. Standing at almost the five-year mark today, the data suggests that HR managers think it’s still a concern for the future: ​ To view the original article, please click here.
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Profile Accounting & Finance Market Update, China, Aug 2018

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Accounting & Finance job market in China. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement. ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE China's economy advanced 6.7% on a year-on-year basis in the second quarter of 2018, matching market consensus but slightly lower than the 6.8% expansion seen in the first quarter of 2018. It was the weakest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2016 amid intensifying tariff battles with the US and efforts to deleverage debt and financial risks. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew by 1.8% in the second quarter of 2018, an uplift from the 1.4% expansion seen in the previous quarter and beating market expectations of 1.6%. The unemployment rate declined to 3.83% in the second quarter of 2018, its lowest rate since 2002, and down from 3.89% in the preceding quarter. MARKET TRENDS Financial Planning & Analysis remains a popular function for job seekers as it offers greater exposure, and an opportunity to be closer, to the business. In this space companies have been recruiting professionals with in-depth experience in growing revenue and improving profitability. More and more domestic companies have been transforming their operations from the traditional finance model, where decisions are made purely from an accounting perspective, to the business partner model, where professionals are encouraged to work closely with business leaders to achieve shared organisational objectives. As a result, companies have been sourcing candidates with expertise in restructuring and developing such models to forward-looking ones. As part of this, many companies have been seeking professionals with skills in change management and business finance partnership to help with more advanced business partner models. Professionals with a strong financial analysis skill in particular, who can provide valuable insights when it comes to management decision-making, will be ahead of the game. In contrast, companies favouring traditional accounting models have been transforming (or considering transforming) their operations through implementing centralised shared service centers (SSCs). In the APAC region China is serving as a key hub for companies establishing SSCs or outsourcing existing national accounting teams to third parties. Therefore, senior-level professionals with expertise in designing, setting up or managing a SSC, or outsourcing, have been in high demand, particularly those with regional exposure. For CFO-level recruitment, the financing, M&A and IPO practices have become fundamental requirements to organisations in recent years due to fast-expanding markets like startups and high-tech companies. SALARIES & BONUSES Average salary increases of around 8 to 10% have been the norm for Accounting & Finance professionals this year, with 15% being seen for top performers and in certain sectors. In relation to bonuses, the sectors that performed better, such as high-tech, payment and healthcare, saw higher uplifts than other sectors. As for job movers, salary increments varied depending on the qualifications of the individual and industry in 2017, with a 15 to 20% base increase common when moving companies. This is also in line with the figures seen so far this year. THE FUTURE Given the solid economic landscape in China, demand for Accounting & Finance professionals is expected to remain relatively robust this year. According to the Institute of International Finance, Bank of China, there have already been 5,179 newly established foreign-invested enterprises so far this year, and foreign direct investment is expected to increase by 3% in 2018. The encouraging outlook means that the China job market will remain active this year. In line with the national ‘Internet Plus’ strategy and rapid rise of online and mobile payment solutions and the fintech industry, the remainder of 2018 will bring further demand for Accounting & Finance professionals who are experienced in online payment technology and digital platforms. A number of domestic conglomerates have benefited from the Chinese government's 'One Belt and One Road' policy, making it easier and quicker for local companies to trade with the rest of the world. As a result, domestic organisations have recorded greater business growth, which often leads to higher compensation packages for candidates, and are being viewed as having greater decision-making powers as their headquarters is usually based locally. Due to these benefits, domestic companies have become the preferable employer over multinationals for many professionals, and this trend will likely continue.
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Profile Supply Chain & Operations Market Update, China, Sep 2018

The following report provides an update on the key trends that we have observed within the Supply Chain & Operations job market in China. It identifies emerging themes across various industries and details the major factors impacting hiring and talent movement. ECONOMIC LANDSCAPE China's economy advanced 6.7% on a year-on-year basis in the second quarter of 2018, matching market consensus but slightly lower than the 6.8% expansion seen in the first quarter of 2018. It was the weakest pace of growth since the third quarter of 2016 amid intensifying tariff battles with the US and efforts to deleverage debt and financial risks. On a quarterly basis, the economy grew by 1.8% in the second quarter of 2018, an uplift from the 1.4% expansion seen in the previous quarter and beating market expectations of 1.6%. The unemployment rate declined to 3.83% in the second quarter of 2018, its lowest rate since 2002, and down from 3.89% in the preceding quarter. MARKET TRENDS​ There is a skills shortage for R&D talent in China, with some pharmaceutical companies going as far as hiring talent from Japan. An increasing number of pharmaceutical companies, both local and multinationals, are placing greater emphasis on the R&D function and investing in resources. Professionals with backgrounds in procurement and supply chain are in demand by private hospitals - where there has been a talent shortage since 2012 - especially those from a similar industry with experience in R&D. There is growing demand for supply chain professionals with APO (EPR system) or e-commerce project experience in China, with cross-functional knowledge being an added advantage. It has been easier to find APO talent in Singapore than in China, while hiring e-commerce talent has been active in China across the food & beverage, retail and healthcare OTC industries. Indirect sourcing professionals have been sought after in China, particularly those with rich experience in marketing-related categories such as digital, e-commerce, creative, events, and PR. The healthcare, consumer and retail sectors have been active in sourcing candidates who match this profile. An increasing number of companies in the consumer and retail industries have been centralising their IT and logistics spends into their corporate indirect sourcing function. As such, there has been a tendency for companies to hire IT and logistics professionals with no experience in sourcing, creating a good opportunity for those considering a career transition. Candidates with demonstrated business partnering skills have been increasingly in demand, especially within the sourcing and procurement sector. Companies in this space have been actively seeking talent with strong business acumen and extensive experience in managing and engaging users from commercial functions. Growth in the food & beverage and OTC industries is being driven primarily by the explosive rise of e-commerce. Consumers have come to expect a modern day retail experience associated with affordability, convenience, flexibility and speed. This has created a growing need for logistics professionals with expertise in last-mile delivery solutions. A similar trend is being seen in the apparel industry. Professionals with solid experience in demand and supply planning have been in demand by companies within the FMCG and chemical industries, as many seek to improve their supply chain and operations processes. As organisations continue their efforts to drive process improvements and cost savings in the supply chain and operations function, process improvement professionals with a proven track record in reducing costs for organisations will increase. Project Managers along with Continuous Improvement and Solution Implementation professionals with relevant certifications (PMP, LEAN/Six Sigma) continue to remain in demand. SALARIES AND BONUSES On average salary increases of around 6 to 8% have been the norm for supply chain and operations professionals this year. For ATL procurement, 15% has been seen for top performers in the retail, consumer, food & beverage and healthcare industries. In relation to bonuses, the sectors that performed better, such as healthcare, chemical, high-tech and e-commerce along with local biopharmaceutical companies, saw higher uplifts than other industries. As for job movers, salary increments varied depending on the qualifications of the individual and industry in 2017, with a 15 to 25% base increase common when moving companies in China. This is also in line with the figures seen so far this year in China. THE FUTURE Given the solid economic landscape in China, demand for supply chain & operations and procurement professionals is expected to remain relatively robust for the remainder of the year. According to the Institute of International Finance, Bank of China, there have already been 5,179 newly established foreign-invested enterprises so far this year, and foreign direct investment is expected to increase by 3% in 2018. The encouraging outlook means that the China job market will remain active this year. The ongoing trade tensions between the United States and China could have significant implications for heavily integrated and globalised supply chains. In order to move with the times, supply chain & operations professionals must embrace technological advancements such as AI, blockchain, cloud and IoT, and be prepared for the changing retail environment, smarter logistics as well as Industry 4.0. NOTABLE PLACEMENTS Profile’s recent completed searches in our Supply Chain & Operations practice include: Vice President, Procurement Assistant Vice President, Supply Chain Head of Procurement Sourcing Director Procurement Business Partner Indirect Sourcing Manager Senior Logistics Director Logistics Director Supply Chain Manager Regional Planning Manager Demand Planning Manager Customer Service Manager Warehouse Manager KEY CONTACTS For more information about hiring trends in China, please contact the Supply Chain & Operations team. Cherry Zhu, Director T: +86 21 6080 0615 E: czhu@profileasia.com Amber Zhang, Senior Consultant T: +86 21 6080 0617 E: azhang@profileasia.com
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Spotlight on China - Asset Management Outlook 2018

The scope of this document is to share our thoughts on China’s current asset management landscape, the impact of the high level of activity in the WFOE space and the potential opportunities and challenges for global players from a human capital perspective. Given this is a sector where changes happen quickly, it is important to note that the factual content is based on market research from public sources as of mid-April 2018, plus our first-hand experience in dealing directly with many asset managers and candidates in China over the past eight years of operating onshore. China is the core of our focus, now with half our business based in Beijing and Shanghai. A HUMAN CAPITAL CONUNDRUM FOR INTERNATIONAL ASSET MANAGERS Asset management opportunities continue to dominate conversations with industry practitioners in China across the front, middle and back offices. We see this first-hand, being engaged in an increasing number of searches for international asset managers as they vie for more access onshore and look to launch private fund products. The focus of global players on China is understandable. For example, the domestic private fund industry, including both wealthy individuals and institutional investors, tripled in size in 2017 to hit RMB 30.9 trillion (USD 4.74 trillion), according to the Asset Management Association of China. Yet what this race also brings, without exception, is a dilemma common for businesses: how to attract, hire and retain the right individuals to capitalise on this unprecedented opportunity. There is no quick or easy answer. Inevitably, it depends on individual ambitions, patience and depth of resources at each firm. Plus, it is too early for any kind of roadmap or tried-and-tested approach to provide a benchmark or model for a successful wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE). We are on a voyage of discovery, and flexibility is key to long-term success. Finding answers is further complicated by the fact that most firms are at different stages of the lifecycle. At the same time, the asset management landscape is still evolving, from a regulatory as well as a product perspective. The only consistent theme, it seems, is an ever-tighter squeeze on an already-shallow talent pool. ​ This all makes the careful and strategic planning around human capital a critical success factor for global asset managers as China’s domestic landscape develops and evolves. ACTIVITY LEVELS The information provided below is current as of 9th April 2018 and is subject to change. It is for your general information only and is not intended as legal advice. Data source: Asset Management Association of China (AMAC). The numbers speak for themselves in terms of the pace of foreign asset managers entering the market: 27 foreign asset managers have set up WFOEs since September 2015 – 17 of which have been done since the start of 2017 11 global asset managers have secured private fund management (PFM) licences 6 of these asset managers with PFM licences have launched onshore private fund products PFM funds launched to date ​ Tracking the onshore flow to China ACQUIRING THE RIGHT TALENT We share the excitement and commitment that the world’s asset managers are showing to China, based on this “moment in time” for the industry. And, as the market’s potential continues to unfold, we predict that it will represent the single-largest human capital opportunity – and challenge – over the next five years. At the same time, we also share the appreciation of foreign asset managers of the complexities and challenges in navigating the market. Regulatory clarity is one of the key issues that foreign asset managers face, despite the easing ownership limits more broadly on foreign joint ventures across asset management, life insurance and securities. Other considerations relate to asset managers making a call on when – and how quickly – to grow their business. This includes the best route for launching their funds, as well as the best approach to take to fill the talent gaps that exist, and develop sufficient human capital. The pace at which foreign managers are actively hiring talent to fully implement their China growth strategy is different from firm to firm. However, the length of time a firm has had a WFOE does not always necessarily dictate how aggressive they are about ramping up their headcount in China. In fact, some asset managers are being deliberately cautious about the speed at which they grow. They are slowly adding firepower even though they might have more of a track-record onshore. Conversely, we are seeing some of the asset managers that are ‘newer’ to the market, with more recently-established WFOEs, looking to make a quick impact. They view a team of any less than 10 individuals who focus on investments, clients and relationship management as lacking in manpower and expertise to effectively run a successful WFOE to manage private funds. Further, if they can find enough people to fill the required roles, these firms believe they will have an edge going forward in terms of being more appealing to candidates looking for their next move. For firms with this ambition, we believe they need to fill a variety of senior positions to deliver a full-scale offering. CREATING THE RIGHT WFOE STRUCTURE The (perhaps obvious) reality is that WFOE structures represent a new chapter in the evolution of onshore funds management and distribution. As we are still in the early stages, no one firm or advisor has established the winning strategy. As such, many firms are setting out on the journey with a strategy, but learning along the way, and thus flexing when needed. This combination of a well-thought-out goal and process, along with a flexible mindset, seems to be the key. One of the early building blocks is which investment strategy the firm will pursue, as this will have the biggest influence on headcount. Some firms are focusing purely on one product, others are seeking investment teams within Equity, Fixed Income, Multi-Asset and Quant. This clearly has a multiplier effect on the size of the team needed. A cautious approach with a single asset class investment strategy, could be a total of sub-10 headcount. This is also applicable to those players just getting started in China, who tend to be in search of two or three key individuals as a minimum to lead and build the business, such as a general manager, a government relations / regulatory relations person and head of investment. However, if the firm wishes to run more aggressively and invest in multiple lines of product, then the overall number could be 25-plus within 18 months. Below is a rough breakdown of the more “full blown” WFOE structure, with headcount next to the functional areas. Using this as a guide we have observed several firms seeking to stay sub-10 headcount, and some aiming closer to 30 in the medium term. HIRING HOT-SPOTS We are finding that a top-down approach to hiring makes the most sense for foreign asset managers in China. Sequencing of hires is important, the leaders need to help to hire their team, and skipping to mid-level hires without a GM or CIO in place has resulted in problems. The top of the pecking order are general managers, followed by heads of investment / chief investment officers. The next critical hire is the head of compliance / chief compliance officer. Language and the ability to be culturally dynamic between local Chinese and global is absolutely key. In each case, asset managers need to assess a variety of attributes to determine if an individual is the right fit for a WFOE. We see some specific requirements for each role: General Managers / GM Onshore market knowledge and experience, to ensure a deep and rounded understanding of the scope of the opportunity A good cultural fit, and with English-language fluency, since they will need to be in regular communication with global headquarters and aligned with the strategy and vision of the firm The ability to offer strong leadership for the business, including motivating and managing staff on the ground, many of whom are likely to be relatively new to the firm Persistence, given that they will encounter various hurdles and challenges during the early stages of a WFOE, and in securing licences and approvals to launch funds Connections, in terms of clients as well as government and regulatory officials, especially if there is a need at any time to try to smooth or quicken the approval path Mainland national who has previously studied, worked and lived overseas – but has also more recently worked in China to have forged the required connections and market insights Heads of Investment / CIO Knowledge of China’s investment landscape and domestic markets A track-record in leading big investment teams Experience in working overseas in a similar investment role, to ensure they understand and can apply the type of structured investment process that their new employer will demand Understanding and appreciation of the regulatory landscape Cross asset class experience is generally desired First class communication skills in English and Mandarin are essential Heads of Compliance / CCO An ability to understand and apply the technical aspects of the job in a market where rules change frequently Language and cultural skills to liaise with counterparts in Hong Kong, Singapore and further afield Knowledge of – and ability to meet – standards of international best practice to help global colleagues get comfort in understanding the reality of the situation onshore A regulator network based on contacts and experience in getting approvals FINDING THE RIGHT BALANCE FOR BOTH SIDES Candidates For candidates as well as their potential employers, there are a number of factors that matter to them in their decision-making about their next move. It is a two-way street. Below are some recurring themes we have observed from both sides of the table. Motivators to move firms – The firm’s apparent commitment to China, based on the stated strategy, plans for growing its WFOE and its track-record to date in terms of implementation The levels of responsibility and trust that the candidate feels they will receive in their new firm The chance that they will be given sufficient autonomy to do their job without feeling they are under a management microscope Increase in their compensation package The opportunity to join a firm with an existing presence, to tap into their market positioning and onshore experience With newer market entrants, some candidates feel they can play a more pivotal role in the firm’s development in China and have a greater impact on the business Factors that make a move less appealing – If there is any question about the company's commitment to the WFOE long term In moving to an international asset manager with more established operation, there might only be openings for middle-tier and junior roles Working in a Chinese institution can offer a better, more natural, cultural fit personally, including communication with managers Compensation can be better within private funds / local companies Some candidates feel they can contribute in a more meaningful way as a part of the core team rather than a satellite operation Candidate might feel they want to be part of a firm at the start of its global growth journey, which applies to a growing number of Chinese asset managers Employers What makes certain candidates stand out – Market knowledge and experience within the onshore asset management landscape A good cultural fit with the international firm, and with English-language fluency, to communicate with senior management and colleagues outside of China Connectivity in the local market – not only with clients, but also in terms of government officials Experience in working overseas in a similar role, to ensure they understand and can apply the type of processes and standards of international best practice that their new employers will demand Understanding and appreciation of the regulatory landscape, as well as knowledge of how to operate successfully within it What makes some candidates less appealing –​ If money seems to be their number-one driver If they have weak communication skills in English, and lack cultural dynamism Insufficient level of knowledge of the market and connections to be successful If they are not senior enough to have the gravitas to help develop the business Their ability to manage their part of the business and lead or grow teams in what is often more akin to a start-up phase The track-record of a candidate – if it shows they move too frequently between different firms Their experience in working with an international organisation, in relation to their understanding of what is required within an international organisation SUMMARY AND OUR EXPERTISE Profile has invested significant time and effort building our China business, having been onshore for eight years. Today, half our business is in China and within that we have a team of experienced consultants and in-house researchers focusing on asset management. We have undertaken many searches in this space and work with WFOEs, JVs and local Chinese Asset Managers. We firmly believe that only by being fully immersed in the local market and by working with all client groups can you truly offer insight and advice of genuine value. The days of “covering China from overseas” are long gone. The landscape in China is rapidly changing and the knock-on effect for human capital is significant. Our experience has taught us to approach the market opportunity with enthusiasm, whilst bearing in mind that for candidates, employers and advisors alike, we are all in the early stages of this journey. Remaining true to our commitment to strive for excellence, the below themes are key to supporting hiring and retention of talent in a dynamic, fast-paced market. 1. Patience & Persistence Sometimes, you need to take a deep breath and move forward, as the opportunity – and the steps taken to grasp it – require a new approach. 2. Wage Disparity Particularly in support functions (especially Compliance), standardisation of salary levels seen in mature markets does not exist yet. Those with similar experience can be 50 to 80% apart on their package. Candidates are aware of this disparity and many less well-paid individuals are aiming for 50 to 100% increases to move.​ 3. Cultural Dynamism Clients see the cultural agility to work well between China and International as essential to successful hiring. The often ignored but very real issue on this point is that it is a two-way street; employers also need to show cultural flex in order to attract the best talent. 4. Strategic Vision (strength and flex) Whilst it is imperative to communicate a strong strategic vision for the WFOE, equally important is to always be flexible in delivery in this ever-changing market. Rigidity to every letter of the plan has caused issues for several WFOEs, resulting in costly lessons. 5. Hedge Your Bets The reality is that there is a slight frenzy in hiring activity, and individuals often have multiple options simultaneously. Having a longer shortlist than normal is a good thing as situations change so rapidly. Never assume a hire is complete until the person walks through the door. 6. Be Opportunistic If you find the right person, act swiftly, decisively and get the deal done. 7. Retention Employers must be realistic: Once you make a good hire you are now a target. Make sure employees are well-managed, well-respected and never take anything for granted. Below are examples of what we have completed or are currently engaged in to complete: Front Office – CIO / Portfolio Management / Trading / Product Management / Sales Infrastructure – Compliance / Finance / Operations / Legal / Human Resources For more information or individually tailored advice, please do not hesitate to contact our regional Asset Management team: Hong Kong Office - please contact Andrew Oliver Singapore Office - please contact Stanley Teo Shanghai Office - please contact Yao Xiong Beijing Office - please contact Winni Wei
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