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About half of investment professionals in APAC expect no change in their base salary in the upcoming year. Additionally investment professionals have a mixed future market outlook, according to Heidrick & Struggle's latest survey. 

The share of respondents expecting an increase in base or bonus salary in 2020 was smaller than the share who received an increase in base or bonus in 2019.

But taking a closer look, respondents across all levels except managing partners reported a steady increase in cash compensation from 2018 to 2020. Associates and senior associates are leading the way with the greatest percentage increase, a compound annual growth rate of 15% between 2018-2020, followed by those at the vice president level.

In contrast to last year’s findings, however, investment professionals at global funds reported a higher median cash compensation in 2020 as compared to those at regional funds at almost all levels of seniority.

This year’s findings reflect a trend that the Greater China premium is indeed diminishing, in line with last year’s observations. Compensation in other markets such as Japan and South Korea are now higher – at the VP, principal and managing partner levels. However, this trend is not as consistent across all levels in 2020, as seen in 2019.

“Looking ahead, with a broad set of unprecedented hurdles on the horizon, talent plays a more critical role than ever before as firms must step up to the challenge,” said Todd Monti, Heidrick & Struggles’ global managing partner for its private equity practice.

“Firms not only have to effectively ride out the changing investment outlook, but also manage their employees’ growing expectations and concerns,” he added.

While almost half of investment professionals expect no change in their base salary in the coming 12 months, the overall future market outlook was highly varied according to sector and geography. Those in the credit and special situations segment were most optimistic, while 44% of the respondents in Australia expect positive changes in the market landscape.

Japan, South Korea and Southeast Asia (excluding Singapore) are most doubtful about market improvement, while respondents from India, Greater China and Singapore have somewhat of a mixed outlook.

The 2020 Asia Pacific Private Capital Investment Professional Compensation Survey includes self-reported online survey data from 242 private capital investment professionals who provided their compensation data from 2018, 2019, and 2020, as well as their expectations for changes in market sentiment and compensation in 2020.