Julius Baer resumes Asian expansion with two huge hires in Singapore

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Julius Baer - Private Bank

Julius Baer may not be hiring quite as aggressively as in 2016, but it is still growing its front-office headcount in Singapore this year.

In the past few weeks it has taken on DBS banker Laurent Chevalley as a managing director and senior advisor, and recruited Winston Teo from Bank of Singapore as Southeast Asia team head, according to their public profiles.

Julius Baer added 110 relationship managers in Asia in 2016 – more than any competitor, excluding those involved in acquisitions – taking its RM headcount to 380, the fifth highest in the region.

This expansion, which continued into last year, was driven by Julius Baer chief executive Boris Collardi, who has developed a reputation as a strong advocate of Asian private banking. The hires of Chevalley and Teo show that the firm remains committed to increasing its RMs workforce in Asia, despite Collardi’s surprise move to rival Swiss bank Pictet in December.

“I think JB will look for more quality, senior bankers this year. It’s keen to continue growing its Asian franchise,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group.

Bankers are often attracted to jobs at Julius Baer because of its “flexible market strategy”, which allows them to cover clients across several Asian countries, says Sen. They also admire its “formula-driven bonus model”. “Each RM knows how much they will make, which takes away a lot of ambiguity. It’s not exactly the same formula for everyone, but typically the pay-out is roughly 20% of an RM’s revenue,” he adds.

Chevalley, who mainly covers international clients, has been based in Singapore since 2000 and first worked for Credit Suisse and then Deutsche Bank. He spent eight years at Societe Generale from 2008, latterly as an executive director, and transferred to DBS in 2014 when it purchased SocGen’s Asian private bank.

Teo worked in retail and mass-affluent banking for most of his career, holding various positions at Citi, UOB and HSBC between 2001 and 2014. He switched to private banking in January 2015 when he joined Bank of Singapore in an Indonesia-focused role. His new job at an elite Swiss private bank suggests his transition into the sector has been successful. Many mass-affluent bankers in Asia have failed after making similar moves.

Image credit: Rafael_Wiedenmeier, Getty

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