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Banks in hiring mode to serve wealth clients in Asia

Singapore

BANKS are pushing to make more hires in the wealth-management space, which is growing competitive in a region where a new billionaire is minted every two days.

Deutsche Bank Wealth Management said on Thursday that in the first quarter of this year, there will be 10 hires at various levels of seniority joining its team in Singapore and Dubai.

They will come on top of the three new managing directors hired to support coverage of non-resident Indian (NRI) clients.

The three new hires are Rasik Ahuja, formerly from UBP (Union Bancaire Priv�e), Sagar Sapra from Standard Chartered Bank, and Swapnil Mishra, who joined from BSI Bank.

In a statement, Amrit Singh, head of wealth management coverage for Global South Asia, said Deutsche Bank is seeing "very strong business momentum" in the NRI segment; he himself relocated to Singapore from London only last September.

"Rasik, Sagar and Swapnil have decades of private banking experience and proven track records as senior bankers in the business, and we welcome them as they join our exciting growth journey."

The bank said last June that it plans to be among the top five players in the Asia-Pacific, and that it intends to hire 50 new "client-facing" staff, including bankers. The "client-facing employees" in this region will be part of an overall 100 new hires globally.

Separately, DBS told Bloomberg this week that it plans to increase the number of relationship managers in its private banking business to tap into surging Asian wealth.

It said headcount will rise by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent this year - after having already risen by more than 20 per cent last year, reported Bloomberg, which quoted Lawrence Lua, deputy private-banking head in an interview.

The team has about 200 private bankers now.

The UBS-PwC billionaire report in 2017 said that on average, one new billionaire was created in Asia every two days in 2016.

While the combined wealth of Asian billionaires still trails the US, the total wealth of Asian billionaires is expected to overtake that of their American counterparts in about four years.