Expansionist bank ramps up in Hong Kong with two new senior hires

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Julius Baer, which has already been expanding its headcount in Singapore this year, has made two new appointments in its Hong Kong office. Stephen Wong has joined the Swiss private bank from UBS as a managing director, while Amit Singh has come on board at director level after a stint at Safra Sarasin.

Industry veteran Wong was at UBS for more than 10 years, latterly as an MD covering ultra-high net worth Chinese clients, according to his online profile. During his 29-year career, Wong has worked as a trader, structurer and salesperson in firms including HSBC, Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan), Barclays and ABN AMRO.

Private banker Singh, meanwhile, started his career in 2004 and initially worked for HSBC, Barclays and Religare Macquarie in mass-affluent banking in India. He moved to ANZ in Hong Kong in 2012 as a team head for expatriate business, before joining ABN AMRO two years later, specialising in international clients. Singh shifted to Safra Sarasin in March 2016, according to his profile.

The two recent hires show that, a year after the shock departure of CEO (and Asia advocate) Boris Collardi to rival Pictet & Cie, Julius Baer is still in growth mode in Asia – and that Hong Kong is central to its recruitment plans. Between 2015 and 2017, Julius Baer’s headcount of Asia-based relationship managers shot up by 130 to reach 400 – the largest increase of any private bank not involved in an acquisition. Nearly a quarter of its staff are now based in Asia.

Wong and Singh’s moves follow a spate of hiring into Julius Baer’s new office in Singapore’s Marina One building. As we reported in October, the bank has taken on Vianne Choo from Vontobel as team head of intermediaries for Southeast Asia. James Tan from Maybank has also joined the same desk in Singapore as a relationship manager.

Earlier this year Julius Baer hired DBS banker Laurent Chevalley as a managing director and senior advisor, and recruited Winston Teo from Bank of Singapore as Southeast Asia team head. In May, Sundeep Dua joined from Standard Chartered as a director in Julius Baer’s Singapore-based Indian Subcontinent team. And as we noted in August, Sarah Lim, formerly of UBS, joined the investment advisory team at Julius Baer as an executive director.

“JB has done a great job in transforming a relatively unknown boutique name in Asia into the present brand, which is no longer alien to RMs and their clients here,” Liu San Li, a former private banker, now a business partner at wealth management firm Avallis, told us previously. “It’s now focusing on hiring even more senior RMs, typically at director level or above.”

It hasn’t just been about hiring, however. Angela Bow, the firm’s head of emerging Asia who joined in 2016 from Credit Suisse, resigned last month, according to Finews.

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Image credit: Gang Zhou, Getty

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