Private banks in Singapore and Hong Kong aren’t only recruiting relationship managers (RMs).
As firms from Deutsche to UBS increase their front-office headcount in Asian wealth management, they’re also hiring more staff behind the scenes. And in some cases they’re even bringing in candidates from other parts of the finance sector.
If you want to work in private banking, these are the jobs to go for.
1. Investment consultants
The people who assist RMs with their clients’ investment strategies are increasingly in demand. “More investment consultants are being hired to match the recruitment of relationship managers. Candidates in rival banks are often prepared to move for better opportunities and pay,” says Josie Ling, head of private wealth management at search firm Eban in Singapore. “And even some RMs want to become ICs to avoid the revenue targets they currently face. Sometimes ICs from priority banking can move up into the smaller private banks. A lot of ICs say having a CFA is helpful.”
2. Discretionary portfolio managers
Private banks in Asia are starting to move from their traditional model of charging wealthy clients for each transaction towards a European-style strategy of managing assets on an advisory-fee (or discretionary) basis. Discretionary portfolio managers are now in demand as a result. “But there’s a talent shortage here and banks are looking to asset management companies to make their hires of portfolio managers and other support staff,” says Ling.
3. Product specialists
Private banks in Asia need more staff to design their products. “It’s a big focus as they look to increase or optimise revenue from client portfolios,” says Ciara Heneghan, head of Southeast Asian private banking at Carlton Senior Appointments. The most sought-after candidates have about 15 years’ experience and a track record of helping to boost client revenues. If you focus on ultra-high-net-worth products (aimed at clients with assets above about $30m, depending on the bank), consider yourself even more in demand.
4. Regulatory compliance
Wealth managers in Asia are “bogged down in regulatory compliance”, according to the Global Wealth Report from EY, released in May. But this is good for compliance candidates. “With the continued tightening of MAS regulations, regulatory compliance is the most in-demand job at private banks in Asia,” says Tim Klimcke, director of financial services and banking at recruiters Robert Walters in Singapore. “Professionals moving banks can expect a 10% to 20% increase in salary. It’s not impossible to move without private banking experience, but it depends on the willingness of hiring managers to train you.”
5. Know your customer
Regulations also require private banks to dig deeper into the business and financial history of their new clients. “With high demand for candidates with KYC and customer due diligence experience, movers can expect pay increments of 20% to 30%,” says Lim Chaileng, director of banking, finance and accounting at recruiters Randstad in Singapore. “Demand is high enough that candidates without private banking experience are being considered.”
6. Anti-money laundering
As in investment banking, AML experts are needed at private banks in Hong Kong and Singapore – and candidates in this field are enjoying 20% uplifts. “But candidates are expected to already have experience in private banking, looking after a previous portfolio of high-net-worth clients,” says Holly Hatton, manager of financial services at recruitment firm Michael Page in Singapore.