For Recruiters

Boom time for private bankers

With money pouring into Singapore, private bankers are enjoying double-digit pay rises. But with new players setting up, could too many cooks spoil the broth?

Over 30 banks have booking centres in Singapore, enabling wealthy types globally to register assets and take advantage of its low taxes and favorable regulations. An estimated US$250bn of assets are now booked in the Lion City - double the level of two years ago.

This growth is attracting new players, with Nomura Wealth Management, BHI Switzerland and Standard Chartered among those to open offices in 2007. Swiss bank Julius Baer has also recently announced plans to expand in South East Asia, making Singapore its hub.

At the same time, salaries have increased due to rising competition for business and talent. Recruiters estimate compensation has risen between 20% and 40% in the past two years.

"Banks are increasing salaries and bonuses, especially sign-on bonuses, to get people on board," explains Nick Hughes, manager of front-office banking at Singapore's ConnectedGroup. "Recruitment is focused on getting skilled relationship managers, as they're responsible for winning business. A junior could expect to earn S$70k to S$100k in overall compensation; a mid-level banker might earn S$100k to S$160k; while the most experienced candidates could earn around S$500k."

Hughes believes consolidation is inevitable and as a result expects only moderate salary increases this year. He does, however, believe the overall outlook remains positive. "Banks are looking to expand into new areas, with money moving into Singapore from other Asian countries and Europe, particularly London and Switzerland. This is one reason growth should continue over the next three to four years," he concludes.

Last year, Singapore saw the fastest increase globally in the number of high-net-worth individuals according to the annual World Wealth Report by Merrill Lynch and Capgemini. Reuters reports that the number of people with more than US$1m in financial assets excluding their home rose 21% to 66,660.

AUTHORAnonymous Insider Comment
  • No
    9 November 2008

    Yumi,instead of Private Banking,try looking elsewhere instead.

    Private Banking is overly rated in SG, partly because the SG government wants to make SG a wealth mgt hub, hence the media and recruiter hype.

    Most laymen(or Private Bankers themselves) think way too highly of Private Banking.But those in *high* finance know for a fact that Private Banking,relatively speaking,is NOT as respectable compared to other more specialized and quantitative banking fields.

    Ive lived and wored in the US for a few years and I can vouch that the best and brightest DO NOT want to end up in Private Banking. Private Bankers are essentially generalists, who know a little of everything but specialize in virtually nothing (unless you consider 'kissin ass' or socializing a specialized skill).

    So, if you DON'T like using your brains and simply like socializing, kissing ass and being at the mercy of your clients for virtually as long as your career lifespan, then Private Banking may be for you.

    Otherwise, go for a more respected banking job like Investment Banking or more quantitative and specialized type of corporate work which will earn you more respect from those in *real high finance*

  • Ja
    4 May 2008

    Hi I would like to find out more about private bankers and the nature of work that they do.
    I heard a lot about them being at the beck and call of their clients 24/7, act as personal concierge.. are these really true?
    Also, what does an assistant private banker does? it is filled with lots and lots of operational work to do?
    Lastly, if a person's numerical ability is mediocre, will it actually hinder the chance of doing well in this line?

  • Ha
    27 November 2007

    Hi james, couldn't agree with you more. I was managing a team on an offshore banking last year when I hired a girl as an RM. She was a fresh grad, very unsophisticated, but extremely hard working. Also, she took my advice and worked hard at networking. She hit her whole year target for 2007 in the first 4 months of this year. No one dared tease her anymore. So Yumi, if you really want the job, work on your basic product knowledge but more important is to build your network.

  • Ja
    22 October 2007

    monyet, you are being harsh on the girl. who says PBkers are required to possess good grammer? all they really require is a huge social network of high networth filthy rich individuals. To presume the institution on premise of her supposed inferior language ability is not very nice of you, no? being in hedge funds has not made you into a cynical skeptical pompous yoyo surely?? no offence, just kidding - get a grip - give the poor girl a break -
    Yumi, honestly PB is not all that great to start with. Dont be fooled by the allure of the money and glamour - infact, PBkers are not necessarily the brightest people in banking - there are other facets of banking which are definitely worth exploring - try them out first - and suss out what suits you best - meanwhile enjoy the final year at school while you can, when you start working - you will realise its pretty tough out there!

  • mo
    28 September 2007

    YuMi - Perhaps you might like to improve your grammar first. Which college are you in? SIM?

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