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Eames Insights: Private Banking market update, Singapore

  • Publish Date: Posted 7 months ago
  • Author:by Abigail Lee

The last year has been challenging for the financial markets. 2022 started with most asset classes declining with the volatility in the global markets, the continued effects of the pandemic and many investors saw double-digit declines in their portfolios.

Despite undercurrents and the threat of an impending recession, 2023 got off to a better start with some stability in the financial markets. On 19 March 2023, however, UBS announced the takeover of Credit Suisse to stem further uncertainty across the private banking industry.

The fall of a banking giant has not just sent shockwaves across the industry but also set clients and employees re-evaluating options. There has been a significant transfer of assets to most major players, especially with the banks that ramped up their expansion plans in 2022.

The continued hunt for talent

As UBS and Credit Suisse work towards the completion of the acquisition deal, where key individuals are being identified and retention bonuses are shelled out, private banks continue their growth efforts.

Across Asia, many private banks have launched and are sticking to their 3–5 years roadmap to compete for the AUM league tables by 2025, which translates to their fight for talent.

Most seasoned bankers already have a relative idea of the offerings across the various private banks and are able to assess which are more suitable for them and their clients. Other than the differences in the platforms, the softer aspects, such as stability, a strong management team and good culture, are equally important.

Banks and hiring managers should also know their strengths or niche to attract the right bankers. Knowing that they might not be here to cater to the entire market but recognising what works best for them is crucial.

What are some of the qualities bankers should have to break through a slower market?

With the change in market conditions in the last year, we started seeing bankers move into new markets in the External Asset Managers, Family Offices and even frontier markets.

A Southeast Asia Team Head at a Swiss Private Bank shared that “the hunt for new clients is a continuous process and expectation of the incremental growth in net new money is to drive bankers to keep identifying opportunities in the markets.”

As discussed in our previous articles, the next-gen clients are also increasingly savvy and demanding. Bankers that rely heavily on their Investment Specialists for portfolio advisory might not be able to convince next-gen clients to continue banking with them. Sharpening one’s technical skills is crucial to capture the next-gen wealth.

2023 continued – what can we expect?

Despite the uncertainty caused by the UBS and Credit Suisse acquisition, the market continues to show signs of resilience. China’s re-opening should also be taken into consideration. With this, most of our clients are selective but deliberate in their hiring efforts, with their key focus being hiring relationship managers across most markets.

Director-level (and above) bankers continue to be sought after given their track record, the strength of relationships with their clients and larger portfolio sizes. Apart from the Greater China markets, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Vietnam market bankers are in higher demand this year.

The commitment to growth with most banks has also translated to interest towards team and cluster moves once again. While such complex moves involve higher risks which many were unwilling to undertake last year, these moves might be a key factor that moves the needle this year.

Should you wish to speak further on any of these topics or have a confidential chat about your next career move or business objectives, please don't hesitate to contact us at: