UPDATE: Nov. 24, 2021: Morgan Stanley said it would reimburse Hong Kong employees up to $5,100 in quarantine costs, according to a memo seen Wednesday by Bloomberg. That's just a touch higher than the amount rival JPMorgan said it would repay in a program it rolled out Monday.
The one-time incentive, in effect from Dec. 1 to Nov. 30, 2022, will be available to all Hong Kong permanent employees returning from a personal trip to visit immediate family members, including spouses, domestic partners, children, parents and grandparents, the wire service reported.
A non-suite room in the city's designated quarantine hotel can cost between $64 and $465 a night, according to Bloomberg.
- JPMorgan staff based in Hong Kong will soon become eligible to receive up to $5,000 to cover the cost of hotel quarantine, according to an internal memo seen by the South China Morning Post, Bloomberg and Reuters.
- Hong Kong has instituted some of the most rigorous measures against COVID-19 in the world. Incoming travelers must quarantine for up to three weeks, a requirement that is hindering JPMorgan’s efforts to retain staff in the city.
- The program will cover quarantine between Dec. 1 and Nov. 30, 2022, according to Bloomberg. All of the bank’s Hong Kong-based staff at and below the executive director level are eligible, the wire service reported.
JPMorgan is slated to become the first Wall Street bank to compensate employees for quarantining.
The funds are intended to mitigate the cost of Hong Kong’s harsh COVID-19 restrictions, and help bank employees finance personal trips.
"We recognize that the costly quarantine measures in place in Hong Kong associated with COVID-19 have impacted many of you with respect to visiting family and loved ones overseas," said the memo, according to Reuters.
JPMorgan Chase, the U.S.'s largest bank, is struggling to retain talent in Hong Kong. CEO Jamie Dimon visited the city last week, skirting the weeks-long quarantine requirement.
Dimon received an exemption from the quarantine policy in a visit meant to thank the bank’s roughly 4,000 Hong Kong-based employees in person.
Hong Kong’s restrictions "make it harder" for JPMorgan to attract and keep talent in the city, Dimon told Bloomberg last week.
Other banks with a strong presence in the Asian financial hub are facing similar headwinds.
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, a trade association for financial firms active throughout the region, sent a letter last month to Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po, warning that talent is leaving the city and a clearer pandemic strategy is necessary.
The letter referenced a survey conducted by the trade association, which found that "48% of firms now contemplate moving staff or functions away from Hong Kong" due to operational challenges "including uncertainty regarded when and how travel/quarantine restrictions will be lifted."
Among other policy recommendations, the trade association urged the city to reduce quarantine restrictions to 14 days — from 21 — for travelers arriving in Hong Kong from high-risk countries.
JPMorgan in August became the first foreign owner of a brokerage in China.