After losing senior bankers last year and suffering a fall in assets, Deutsche Bank has unexpectedly joined UBS, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered and Safra Sarasin on a growing list of private banks wanting to hire in Asia this year.
Don't get too excited. Deutsche is targeting an elite bunch of senior ‘producer’ relationship managers who can grow their books by nine figures annually, say headhunters.
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management plans to add 50 client-facing roles – including RMs – in Asia during the second half of the year, Lok Yim, the unit’s Asia Pacific head, told Bloomberg. He did not say how many of the new recruits would be based in Singapore or Hong Kong (the firm also has sizeable wealth operations in India) or how many would be RMs (rather than investment advisors or product specialists, for example).
However, we understand from a private banking headhunter, who asked not to be named because of client confidentiality, that about 10 to 15 RMs will join the firm in Singapore and Hong Kong combined by the end of the year.
While this pales in comparison with UBS (hiring 100 RMs in Hong Kong over two years) and Credit Suisse (recruiting 180 by 2018), it is significant in a Deutsche context.
The bank’s overall RM workforce in Asia stayed flat at 200 between 2012 and 2016. In October last year it endured the significant departures of Ravi Raju, its Asian wealth chief, and Anurag Mahesh, its Singapore-based global head of key client partners, to UBS.
“Deutsche now wants to build after it avoided an exodus – not many RMs followed these guys to UBS,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group. “UBS is so restricted in its market silos – 80% of your clients need to be in one country – that they decided not to.”
Sen says Deutsche wants senior RMs who can build about $100m in new assets every year. “Unlike the big Swiss banks, it doesn’t want VPs or ADs who are only capable of doing $50m to $70m. It’s quality over quantity of hiring.”
Deutsche needs the new RMs to help rebuild its books. Asian assets under management fell to $47.4bn in 2016, down 11.7% from the previous year, as the bank ditched some non-compliant clients in the face of tightening regulations.
“Don’t apply to Deutsche if you want wide-ranging management responsibilities. The focus is on revenue – you’ll have to be either a producer or a manager-producer,” says Sen. “But Deutsche is only hiring people who understand its ethos in private banking – that basically means no big egos.”
“Deutsche has become a bit of a dark horse in wealth management in Asia. It’s suddenly trying to hire and add assets as part of its broader plan to turn around the bank globally,” adds Sen. “And RMs there benefit from the way it’s integrated private banking with global markets. It’s done this well, but without making a huge song and dance about it, like Credit Suisse and UBS have.”
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