Singapore is both a city and a country and one of the world’s most important financial centres. Whilst having a reputation for being ultra-modern, it retains a wide range of Chinese, Malay and Indian traditions and manages to blend in Western influences.
Law Firms & In-House
Singapore has long been established as a premier financial centre and is the South East Asian base for a number of UK and US law firms. Whilst not as big a market as Hong Kong, it does not have the same demand for Asian language skills and firms usually look overseas for recruits. In-house roles in Singapore are fairly few and far between for overseas lawyers, though some roles do exist in major multi-nationals and top investment banks.
Principal Areas of Demand
Areas in demand are principally:
- Banking & Finance
- Project Finance
- Capital Markets
Lawyers with skills in the following areas are of interest:
- Structured Finance & Securitisation
- Debt Capital Markets
- Derivatives & Structured Products
- Compliance – both investment banking and funds related
Remuneration & benefits
Salaries in Singapore have moved away from the traditional ‘ex-pat package’. Whilst the occasional role may offer housing and cost-of-living allowances, most law firms and banks now pay a local Singapore dollars salary. Salaries are still relatively high and tax is low at 20%. The cost of living in Singapore is low compared to London or Hong Kong and lawyers tend to live in houses or large apartments with gardens and swimming pools.
Singapore offers something for everyone. There is a superb range of bars, clubs and restaurants, great shopping, fantastic parks and great beaches. It offers a wide range of sporting facilities, including a number of top golf courses. It is vibrant and social for younger lawyers, yet also provides a superb environment for families. The climate is excellent, the air is clean and there is far more space than in most Asian cities! Singapore is a fantastic base for travelling across the region. Indonesia is a stone’s throw away, as are some of the region’s most beautiful outlying islands. Australia is extremely easy to visit, with Perth a mere four-hour flight away.