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Poaching rife in private banking sector

Private bankers are being offered hefty premiums to move to Singapore.

Bloomberg quotes one banker who says, "It's not uncommon to double your salary; now they're even offering a signing bonus."

Roman Scott, an analyst at Boston Consulting Group reportedly says private bankers in Singapore earning a base salary of $95,000 to $110,000 are being lured to jobs paying $200,000, with bonuses of 20-30%.

Bloomberg reports competition for talent is driving costs higher and may slow expansion plans. "Growth in the wealth that is being created has led to demand for professionals," Deepak Sharma, Citigroup's head of wealth management for Asia and the Middle East is reported as saying. "Over the next five to 10 years, talent will continue to be one of our biggest challenges."

Credit Suisse is looking to hire 200 wealth managers in Singapore, increasing its workforce by about 40 per cent, while Julius Baer plans to hire about 100 people for its private banking unit in Singapore within three years. UBS, Pictet, and Vontobel are also looking to boost their numbers in the region Bloombergsays.

Merrill Lynch is also said to be looking to add 800 people in Singapore by 2009, more than doubling its numbers.

Analysts say about 70% of the funds in Singapore private banks are from abroad, making it the biggest centre in Asia for private banking.

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