Private bankers can profit by moving East
Private bankers who happen to be fluent in English, Mandarin and Cantonese may be able to realize significant pay premiums by moving to Asia.
Dudley Edmonds, a director at private banking search firm Culliford Edmonds Associates, says a shortage of local private banking talent on the ground in East Asia is prompting banks in the area to draw on talent in Europe and the US.
"The local market is so highly bid, there are just not enough people to go around," he says. "We're searching across Europe and the US for culturally and ethnically East Asian people who want to take their experience back to their local economy."
European banks like HSBC and UBS are building private banking activities in China, says Edmonds. With the exception of Citigroup, he says American banks have yet to mount a big push into the region.
Trilingual candidates are most highly sought after. "Seriously good people who speak English, Mandarin and Cantonese can command a significant premium," says Edmonds. "I placed one candidate who was earning a salary of 75,000 to 89,000 in London on a sterling equivalent of 130,000 in Hong Kong. I was rather surprised."