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Bank of Singapore’s hiring drive stays on course as it lands JP Morgan managing director

Senior private banker Adrian Teo has left JP Morgan to join Bank of Singapore (BoS) as the wealth arm of OCBC continues its senior hiring drive. Teo is now a managing director at BoS, a rank he also held at JP Morgan.

Teo wasn't at JPMorgan long. He only joined the US bank’s Singapore office in October 2017, having previously worked at Credit Suisse for 10 years, latterly as an MD, according to his LinkedIn profile. We understand that his clients are predominately based in Southeast Asia. His new firm did not respond to a request to comment on his move.

Teo was a senior relationship manager at Standard Chartered in Singapore between 2002 and 2004 and then joined UBS Wealth Management for a stint of just under three years as an associate director.

Teo isn't Bank of Singapore's only recent hire. Last year it added 20 new relationship managers, taking its RM headcount to 450. That made it the seventh biggest recruiter of RMs in Asia that year, with the fourth largest RM workforce – ahead of banks such as Julius Baer, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan.

Despite a talent-short job market in Asian private banking – and competition from larger players like UBS and Credit Suisse – recruiters in Asia expect BoS’s headcount to rise by a similar amount by the end of this year.

Last month, for example, the firm appointed Kelvin Teo, formerly of Credit Suisse, as head of bespoke investments for Greater China and North Asia, and tasked him with targeting ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients in the region. The number of BoS UHNW clients – those with assets of US$30m or more – has doubled since 2017.

The Asian private banking division of Adrian Teo’s old firm, JP Morgan, specialises in UHNW clients, as does Goldman Sachs’. UBS, Credit Suisse, Julius Baer and HSBC have UHNW teams within their wider private banks. Bank of Singapore will therefore see all these firms as potential headhunting grounds, say recruiters.

Why would a relationship manager leave a large European or US private bank for a Singaporean firm that was only established in 2009? BoS has a “very good product platform and lending capabilities”, says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now a global leader in private wealth management at search firm Boyden. Job seekers are attracted by Bank of Singapore’s “open skies policy”, meaning that RMs can typically cover clients across markets, he adds.

The firm’s increasing asset base is also a selling point in the job market. Assets under management at BoS reached US$111bn at the end of June, a 9% rise year-on-year.

Joining Bank of Singapore isn’t the only significant thing that Teo has done in 2019. He has also co-founded Callisto Gaming, a platform for female gamers, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Image credit: Tomatopictures, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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