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Forget bonuses: private bankers in Singapore are still moving jobs in Q4

The fourth quarter is supposed to be a tepid time for finance sector hiring as candidates delay job moves until they’ve pocketed Q1 bonuses, and banks refrain from recruiting to avoid costly bonus buy-outs.

Asian private banking, however, is bucking this trend. A number of expensive senior bankers have joined private banks in Singapore over the past few weeks. Chronic talent shortages in the wealth industry mean some banks are willing to steal a march on the competition and poach relationship managers before the busy season for hiring kicks in early next year, say recruiters.

Among those to have changed jobs this quarter is Franck Schaller, a former Safra Sarasin RM, who’s now joined DBS, according to his LinkedIn profile. Schaller had been with the Swiss firm since 2014 and previously spent about four and a half years at Societe Generale.

Arun Chopra has become a private banker (at ED level) at Julius Baer in Singapore, having worked as a principal in the Singapore office of IIFL Investment Managers, one of India’s largest wealth and asset management firms, for more than eight years.

VP Bank announced two senior hires in Singapore earlier this week. Davin Wong, an executive director and team head, was formerly in a similar role at Julius Baer and has also led private banking teams at ANZ and UOB. James Leong has joined VP Bank as an executive director and senior relationship manager, reporting to Wong. Meanwhile, Brian Koo has moved to Hong Leong Bank in Singapore as a senior private banker and cluster head, having previously been premier banking market head for North Asia at OCBC.

While global restructuring drives have made investment banks even more reluctant to buy out bonuses and make senior Q4 hires, private banks in Asia face fewer cost restrictions. HSBC and Deutsche, for example, are both hiring in Asian wealth management even as they cull thousands of jobs globally. Private banks in Singapore are willing to take over the bonuses of senior RMs, but only if they are top performers, says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now a global leader in private wealth management at search firm Boyden.

Sen has also come across private bankers who moved this quarter without a buy-out, because their expected 2019 bonus from their former employer was “so small that it wasn’t worthwhile staying on”, he adds.

Photo by Clem Onojeghuo on Unsplash

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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