Fund managers in Singapore may hire stay-at-home parents

SINGAPORE • With the coronavirus outbreak underlining the success of remote working arrangements, asset managers may start tapping into stay-at-home talent, according to the Investment Management Association of Singapore.

Flexible work arrangements at asset managers will become more commonplace, and previously untapped talent pools that require work-from-home models could have a greater shot at getting hired, the association’s deputy chairman Eleanor Seet said in an interview. That could include “working parents and stay-at-home moms, and could expand to include other caregivers”, she added.

With entire economies going into shutdown, the global health crisis has induced the world’s largest-ever work-from-home experiment. As a result, asset managers have turned to technology, including video conferencing tools such as Zoom and Webex, as well as traditional calls, to host webinars, conduct business and win new clients.

Firms such as JPMorgan Chase & Co have said some employees could be asked to work from home more permanently even after the pandemic is over.

Prior to the crisis, it seemed like there were few roles that could be done remotely, but now “that number is even 100% in some cases”, said Seet, who’s also the president of Nikko Asset Management Asia. She sees international and local firms reviewing their hiring policies and working arrangements. The association has about 135 members, who manage more than US$1.2 trillion (RM5.18 trillion) in assets combined.

“What we should be looking at is how asset managers can reconfigure their resources to better suit what may very well become the new normal — a world which is predominantly filled with people working remotely,” Seet said. — Bloomberg