From the Frontline: relax, there's one banking job every salesperson can get...
Let private banking do its headhunting behind its now tightly-closed doors: priority banking has nothing to hide! There are new branches opening and new branches in the pipelines of some of the largest and most aggressive banks in Singapore. This should ensure sustainable and strong hiring numbers for several quarters to come.
Recruitment of relationship managers in priority banking is not at free-for-all levels, but banks (perhaps out of sheer desperation) are definitely considering bright salespeople from different, though vaguely related, industries. Media companies, conference organisers and PR firms are all potential headhunting grounds because even juniors in these sectors are used to dealing with senior (and hence wealthy!) professionals.
Insurance professionals have always been a welcome addition to the priority banking ranks, while IFAs have been joining up more recently. Junior traders and dealers might be a bit reluctant themselves to become RMs, but the banks think they make great candidates. Investment consultants? A definite yes, if they want to cross over into sales.
And what about private banking RMs? You would be surprised: firms are turning them down because they don't have the right attitude for this dynamic, fast-paced and increasingly demanding sector.
Here are my picks as the top-three employers in priority banking.
Standard Chartered Bank
A very strong brand name and a century of commitment to the region - Stand Chart is undoubtedly one of the significant players in Singapore. Four new branches are opening soon, and the good news is that they give their new priority RMs some existing clients and hence ease the target-achievement process. And if I had to pick one great thing about this bank, it would be its highly-evolved employee mobility and career advancement programmes. No bank has these on the same scale.
You just cannot ignore the waves this organisation is already making in the employment market. While it does not give new recruits portfolios to start with, it is one of those rare banks which compensate by progressive targets, so you receive training as well as time to start achieving your revenues. Despite the recent arduous journey from ABN Amro to RBS to ANZ, the bank still has a strong commission structure to reward its RMs, who may well be the highest-earning priority bankers on average in Singapore. However, bear in mind that although ANZ is now in expansion mode, it may start to consolidate in the future, which will make it more difficult to get a job there.
Rajan Raju's (former head of consumer banking) departure notwithstanding, DBS has an effective priority banking platform. While UOB might have stolen the show in Singapore's recent priority hiring spree (Citi is still picking up the pieces left by its mayhem), DBS still stays strong. Of course it has an enviable portfolio - any new RM can comfortably hope to be given a substantial client base to start with. And if you are not too worried about base salaries, this could be a great place to make and strengthen your career.
So ake your pick and happy hunting!