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Private banks in Singapore aren’t just hiring relationship managers.

The new hot job at private banks in Singapore

Private banks like Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered aren’t just hiring relationship managers in Singapore. A number of them are filling technology-related roles, driven by increasing demand for digital solutions from affluent clients.

As customers are much more digitally-enabled and savvy these days, having smart, digitally-supported tools that are connected to the Internet of things is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a baseline requirement, says Lissa Toh, senior manager, Deloitte Consulting Southeast Asia in Singapore.

Wealth management providers, she says, need to compete by offering products and services that cater to these demands, particularly because customers are very willing to switch providers to get what they want.

Banks are contending not only with increasingly demanding customers across all segments, but also face competition from new market entrants like robo-advisory players such as Stashaway and Endowus.

“They need to adopt the digital-first approach, be super agile and able to quickly react to customer demands,” says Toh.

In June this year, Standard Chartered announced that it would invest S$694m in technology capabilities to cater to affluent clients, while Credit Suisse said it would shift towards enhanced digital advisory approach to improve customer and relationship manager experiences, despite an overall cut in its tech budget.

According to recruiters, active hiring for tech positions is now taking place at a number of private banks in Singapore, including Julius Baer, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Pictet and UBS, as well as buy-side firms such as Aberdeen Asset Management and Blackrock.

Many banks have set up their technology infrastructure in Singapore, Asia Pacific’s leading private banking and wealth management hub, and this has made it easier for them to tap on their tech capabilities for their wealth management business, says Faiz Modak, associate director for tech and transformation at Robert Walters Singapore.

“This trend is likely to continue as there will be an increase in competition from other asset management firms, buy-side, fintech and wealth tech firms,” he adds.

Many of the tech positions that financial institutions are looking to fill are within functional and business expertise across wealth management and asset management, according to Modak. While there is a ready talent pool to tap from, he says greater pull and push factors need to be considered to attract candidates to take on various tech roles. These include compensation, benefits, the role itself and career prospects.

The increasingly indistinguishable demarcation between private and retail banking customers and rapidly shifting customer expectations have compelled many banks to rethink their set up to stay relevant in the competitive marketplace, says Christian Gilmour, wealth management and private banking lead at Deloitte Southeast Asia.

“This rethinking applies across people, customer channels, processes, risk and technology all of which underpinned a bank’s operating model… The respective service offering and value proposition for private and retail banking has changed,” he says.

The challenge to banks, according to Gilmour, lies in how to cost effectively serve customers across all segments because it demands a digital-first approach, whether directly to the mass affluent customers or to support bankers serving high-net-worth customers.

“This demand will be ongoing and will only increase as regulators continue to support new fintech entrants and to issue digital banking licenses to non-traditional institutions like big tech firms. Banks have to innovate to keep pace and to attract the right technology talent,” he says.

Photo by Muhd Asyraaf on Unsplash

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