Laid Off Bankers: Enough FILTH? Bring on FILCH

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in , at 12/01/2008 10:52:00 AM
Sometime ago, I discussed the career options of 62,000 or so bankers from the City of London who will be retrenched through 2009. A popular destination in times past has been Hong Kong. Hence the well-known acronym for anyone who's hung around the Pacific Rim for any amount of time - FILTH: Failed in London, Try Hong Kong. Given that Hong Kong's fortunes aren't so great at the moment--it has entered a recession--gweilo seeking their fortunes away from Wall Street and London ought to set their sights further afield. Or, at least, that's what Jamil Anderlini of the Financial Times suggests in writing that China is the next destination. Better yet, it appears the Chinese government is sparing no expense in its recruitment efforts, sending apparatchiks to London and the Big Apple.

Think about things in cost-benefit terms: will lost liberties, iron ceilings (like for other trades, top banking positions need to be filled by Party members), and hyperpollution in Beijing and other Chinese cities be offset by enough pay? At this point in time, perhaps any pay is welcome for these former masters of the financial universe. So much for FILTH; what we have nowadays is the rise of the FILCH--Failed In London, CHina-bound. The acronym is oddly appropriate. While the Chinese are not exactly drawing away talent by wooing the unemployed, luring away "human capital" from more industrialized countries is a form of filching as the targets are [eew] bankers in the age of subprime.

There once was a joke that fair trade meant the US selling toxic securities in exchange for China's toxic products. Pretty soon the Chinese will have all this "expertise" in house. Subprime never dies, baby. From the FT:
Out-of-work finance professionals in the UK and US have a new reason for optimism about their employment prospects – especially if they speak Mandarin. Chinese financial institutions are set to exploit the widespread job losses in western financial centres as a result of the credit crunch by next month embarking on a hunt for financial experts willing to relocate.

The Shanghai Financial Service Office has told state media the city is sending a delegation to New York, Chicago and London to recruit specialists in risk management, asset management, product research and development, macro­economics and policy analysis.

The head of human resources at the office said at least 27 financial institutions in Shanghai, China’s commercial and financial hub, had listed more than 170 vacancies specifically targeting foreigners.

The global financial turmoil has led to tens of thousands of job losses in financial services. London and New York have been hit especially hard, while many of those still in employment fear for their future. But the salaries on offer in China are unlikely to meet international standards and a preference for those who understand and speak Mandarin Chinese will probably rule out many potential candidates.

In addition, China’s unique political environment, in which the Communist party exercises ultimate control over all aspects of the financial, legal and commercial systems, means foreign passport-holders are unlikely to be given senior positions in state-run institutions.

China Investment Corp, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, launched a global recruitment drive earlier this year but was unable to match salaries on offer in the City or on Wall Street. [And are experts at losing money besides.]

Shanghai officials said organisations interested in recruiting in the UK and US included the nascent China Financial Futures Exchange, the Pudong financial district government, and state-run securities agencies, insurance companies and banks.

The delegation will also try to recruit an assistant to the president of Shanghai Financial University, a chief economist for the SFU’s International Finance Research Institute and a dean for its International Finance and Insurance School. Academic posts are more likely to be offered to foreigners as such positions are considered less politically sensitive.

All senior managers above a certain level at state companies are appointed by the secretive Communist party personnel department.