Singapore: Goldman Sachs Group plans to add about 100 employees in Singapore, raising the number of its employees in the financial center of Southeast Asia to a record level, after a turbulent period in the region.
All the new positions will be primarily in the technology field, and the appointments will take the number of employees in the city to more than 1,000, said IG Morse, head of regional operations for Goldman Sachs, in an interview.
About 60% of current employees work in support and technology roles.
According to Morse, part of the technology hiring will support the bank’s cash management operations, which is a new line of business for Goldman Sachs. He said the company is also planning to hire more investment bankers as it faces “its strongest deal in many years.”
“We’re really looking to grow our excellence here across all of the products,” said Morse. “It is a significant and important client center for banking clients to asset managers.”
Singapore has become the focus of Goldman Sachs’s regional strategy after the fallout from a corruption scandal involving Malaysian sovereign wealth fund 1MDB that tarnished its image in Asia and beyond.
The bank joins global competitors expanding in the island nation due to its position as a fast-growing wealth management hub and alternative to Hong Kong, which has been plagued by political turmoil.
Goldman Sachs provides services such as investment banking, asset management, wealth management, securities and commodities from its Singapore hub. The US bank’s operations in Asia contributed 14% of its global revenue last year.
Morse said the company has hired 10 global traders in Singapore over the past 18 months and may add more wealth managers and commodity dealers.
It has also joined the likes of JPMorgan Chase & Co and BNP Paribas SA to create the forex and pricing trading platform in the city that started operations this year.
While acknowledging the 1MDB scandal – That Goldman Sachs paid about $ 5 billion in fines to regulators from the US to Malaysia and Singapore – Morse damaged his reputation, and emphasized that the controversy had not affected the bank’s hiring plans in Asia.
For more than a decade, OneMDB has become an acronym for one of the world’s most daring robberies. – Conspiracy spawned investigations in Asia, the United States and Europe.
Authorities have spent years tracking down the money that allegedly flowed from the fund officially known as 1Malaysia Development Bhd to arts and real estate, a luxury yacht and a hit Hollywood movie.
In October, Goldman Sachs struck an agreement with the US Department of Justice and other regulators that were investigating the company’s role in raising billions for 1MDB that was later seized by officials close to the Malaysian government.
The board has pledged to hold current and former executives accountable by seeking clawbacks, forfeitures, and wage deductions.
Aside from being a “global reputation problem”, said Morse, who also heads fixed income, currency and commodity sales in the Asia Pacific region, the scandal “has had little impact on how customers are served in the region” region, excluding Japan.
He said, “1MDB was not an obstacle for us to recruit the people we employ across the company.”
In Malaysia, the focal point of the controversy, Goldman Sachs continues to run businesses such as asset management, advisory services and debt capital markets.
“We are open to dialogue with clients in Malaysia,” Morse said. “It is a gradual process of re-engagement.”