Standard Chartered hires new Singapore MD after five months at rival bank

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Manager race jumping over obstacles

Standard Chartered has recruited a new managing director in Singapore after he spent just five months at Safra Sarasin. Nakul Beri, an experienced non-resident Indian (NRI) banker, shifted to Standard Chartered Private Bank earlier this month, according to his public profile.

Before joining Safra Sarasin last October, Beri was at Bank of Singapore (BoS) for 11 months and at Barclays, latterly as a director and team head, for more than seven years. He transfered to BoS in 2016, along with about 60 other Barclays bankers, after it purchased Barclays’ Asian wealth business.

His new move to Stan Chart, despite following such a short tenure, is not as surprising as it may seem. Beri has been reunited with his old boss from Barclays, Srinivas Siripurapu, who is now ASEAN and South Asia head at Stan Chart.

Prior to the BoS sale, several senior Barclays bankers moved to Stan Chart, most notably Didier Von Daeniken, Stan Chart’s Singapore-based global private banking head, who joined in March 2016. Von Daeniken then recruited Siripurapu and North Asia head Vivian Chan from Barclays. And in October 2016, about 10 Barclays relationship managers joined Chan’s team in Hong Kong.

Stan Chart has since been trying to recruit more ex-Barclays RMs, although it has not been as successful as it had hoped, according to headhunters. Beri now marks a significant expectation.

Meanwhile, what turned out to be a short-term move to Safra Sarasin also landed Beri a promotion from ED to MD, making it more straightforward for him to then join Stan Chart as an MD, according to a source with knowledge of his hire.

Stan Chart’s private bank is primarily looking to recruit senior bankers with more affluent clients, having increased its minimum client investment threshold from $2m to $5m last year. Beri’s hire is part of a wider push in Asian private banking. Stan Chart took on more than 50 experienced private bankers in the year to September 2017, including Jack Wu and Pauline Ko, from HSBC and Deutsche Bank respectively, as Hong Kong-based MDs covering Greater China.

Beri’s client segment, NRI, is an expanding sector for which Singapore serves as a key global hub, and he is not the only NRI banker to join Stan Chart of late. As we reported last year, Mo Choudhury and Abhijit Shetty have come on board from EFG and DBS respectively.

Competition for NRI talent is heating up across private banks in Singapore. Last month, for example, Sajal Arora joined BNP Paribas from BoS as a Singapore-based director, focused on NRI clients.

Like many of his NRI counterparts, Beri started his career as an India-based corporate banker.  He worked for five banks in India between 1998 and 2009, including Stan Chart for two years.

The firm Beri has now left behind, Safra Sarasin, is among five boutique private banks (the others are EFG, LGT, UBP and VP Bank) which are expanding their RM headcounts in Asia.

Image credit: aurielak, Getty

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