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2019 Legal and Compliance Salary Guide


Submitted by global_admin on Fri, 01/04/2019 - 04:31
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Legal and in-house lawyer salaries in Hong Kong and expected salaries for junior to senior Compliance professionals in Hong Kong in 2019.

Compliance SalariesLegal Salaries
Commentary on Legal and Compliance Roles and Remuneration in Hong Kong for 2019


All Figures shown are in HK$ 


Compliance Salaries
Role Low High Average
Compliance Advisory 75,000 170,000 100,000
Compliance Corporate Finance Advisory 75,000 170,000 100,000
Compliance Assistant 25,000 50,000 35,000
Compliance Generalist 40,000 125,000 75,000
Head of Compliance 130,000 250,000 180,000
Compliance Manager (FS) 50,000 130,000 80,000
Compliance Monitoring Officer 25,000 50,000 35,000
Compliance Officer 40,000 75,000 55,000
Compliance Regulatory Officer 40,000 75,000 55,000
Compliance Testing and Reviews 40,000 125,000 75,000
Compliance DCM Advisory 75,000 170,000 100,000
Compliance ECM Advisory 75,000 170,000 100,000
Legal Compliance Manager/Director 130,000 220,000 160,000
AML Analyst 40,000 75,000 55,000
Head of AML 130,000 220,000 160,000
AML Manager 50,000 130,000 80,000
Investigations Officer 25,000 50,000 35,000
Fraud Analyst 40,000 75,000 55,000
DMLRO 75,000 180,000 120,000
MLRO 130,000 200,000 160,000
Finanacial Crime Officer 25,000 50,000 35,000
KYC Analyst 25,000 50,000 35,000
Head of KYC 120,000 200,000 160,000
KYC Manager 50,000 130,000 80,000
Periodic Reviews 40,000 125,000 75,000
Legal Salaries
Role Low High Average
General Counsel 150,000 300,000 220,000
Head of Legal 150,000 300,000 220,000
In-house Solicitor 80,000 200,000 150,000
Legal & Compliance Manager / Director 150,000 300,000 220,000
Company Secretary 40,000 100,000 70,000
Paralegal 25,000 70,000 40,000
Contracts Manager 40,000 100,000 70,000

Commentary on Legal and Compliance Roles and Remuneration in Hong Kong for 2019

Hong Kong Legal and Compliance Recruitment 2019 Salary Guide

The demand for legal and compliance talent remained steady in 2018 with strong hiring throughout the year, even in the typically quieter Q4. With financial institutions continually beefing up headcount for compliance roles, 2019 will remain an employee’s market with demand for professionals outstripping supply.

This year saw an increasing need to fill roles in sanctions, financial crime compliance (FCC), surveillance and fraud and we expect this trend to continue in 2019. Over the last 12 months, organisations and hiring managers have given increasing preference for roles in sanctions and compliance advisory to be filled by candidates from a legal background.

In the last two to three years there has been a steady inflow of Chinese securities firms to Hong Kong. As a result, we continue to witness the movement of talent from European and local organisations into these newly-arrived players, creating a need for replacement hires. We expect Chinese securities firms to continue to spur the movement of talent and add additional headcount as they expand their business in 2019.

In-demand Roles, Skills and qualifications for Legal and Compliance Professionals

Possessing strong interpersonal, communications and stakeholder management skills remains increasingly important for senior compliance and legal roles because they have to work closely across the business[1] . . People with a solid education including law qualifications or certifications stand at an advantage.

Workplace Trends Impacting Legal and Compliance Professionals in Hong Kong

In recent years, the investment industry has been hit by a barrage of regulatory change and financial penalties. As a result, banks are closely examining their control procedures and beefing up their teams to ensure they have strong regulatory compliance. As compliance and legal professionals realise that the talent shortage places a higher market value on their skills, job hopping has become tempting for candidates and a more common occurrence. Compared to 2017, compliance and legal professionals were paid more in 2018, and we have seen a steady increase in salaries compared with two to three years ago.

Generally, salaries are increasing in increments of between 20-25 percent for those changing organisation. However, the most substantial salary increases occurred for those with more stable CVs, particularly individuals that have remained within a company for three to five years. These candidates are looked upon favourably in the job market and can often command a salary increase of 40 percent. We also see higher salaries paid to those with strong skill sets in sanctions and FCC. Legal and compliance workers remain in high demand and ongoing regulatory change is expected to bring about the creation of new teams and specialists. As a result, organisations will have to fiercely compete for the best of this talent.

Interestingly, we are seeing increasing diversity in the foreign banks and financial institutions, with professionals from Europe and the US taking on senior positions in Hong Kong. Regulations in US and European markets tend to be more developed than those locally, making the experience and skill sets of these individuals highly valuable. This results in a win-win situation, as these candidates are often willing to move markets because doing so offers strong growth potential.


What Does the Future Hold for Legal and Compliance Professionals? Predictions for 2019 and Beyond

In light of tightening regulatory standards, we will continue to see high demand for legal and compliance talent. 2019 will remain a candidate-short market and employers need to place particular attention on job enlargement or rotation to give employees exposure to different fields. Similarly, organisations should remain open to cross-training to ensure their talent can build well-rounded business perspectives.

Advice to organisations is to create an overall compliance culture that is supportive; compliance needs to be viewed as a partner to the business enabling growth, rather than viewed as a policing entity. Similarly, creating positive team cultures is an effective way to attract and retain talent.

Candidates are advised to consider that stable CVs are often looked upon more favourably and can give candidates an advantage in the market for much-sought-after roles.

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