Morning Coffee: Does DBS need to hire 107 new bankers?

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DBS is aiming to grow its private banking assets by 40% to US$100bn in less than three years, according to the firm’s head of wealth management, Tan Su Shan.

In making the announcement at the Reuters Wealth Management Summit this week, Tan left one vital question unanswered – how many more relationship managers (RMs) will she need to realise such an ambitious target?

In Asia, private banks’ ranking by assets under management (AUM) largely corresponds with their ranking by RM headcount – DBS is currently eighth in both categories. A 40% rise would see the bank employing about 374 RMs, up by 107 from the current figure of 267.

Even if DBS manages to drive AUM growth with a slightly less dramatic headcount increase, it is unlikely to grow its workforce purely by hiring from competitors. Despite Tan’s stellar reputation as a leader, attracting that many experienced bankers to her ranks would be difficult with so many other firms jostling for talent.

DBS is more likely to use a combination of poaching, promoting its assistant-level RMs and perhaps even acquisitions. Last year it bought Societe General’s Asian private bank and is now looking to expand its market share in China.


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