Boutique hires ED from Morgan Stanley in Asia. Now wants more bankers

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LGT hires from Morgan Stanley in Asia

Not content with acquiring most of ABN AMRO’s Asia-based private bankers following its takeover of the Dutch firm’s Asian wealth unit, LGT is now hiring more relationship managers in the region.

Among its latest senior recruits is Elaine Foo, who recently joined from Morgan Stanley as an executive director in Singapore, focused on ultra-high-net-worth clients, according to her online eprofile.

“This hire shows that LGT doesn’t want the takeover to spell the end of its expansionist momentum in Asia. It wants its headcount of RMs to grow further this year,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group.

The bank employed 106 relationship managers in Asia in 2016 and the ABN deal has almost doubled its RM workforce to around 200.

“It has more hiring gunpowder for 2017. LGT was small in Asia before ABN and now has more credibility, but it needs additional bankers to further boost its assets under management,” says Sen.

LGT currently manages about $50bn in Asia, which still places it outside the top-10 private banks in the region by AUM. “It wants to take on the likes of Bank of Singapore and Julius Baer,” he adds.

New recruit Foo spent just 14 months at Morgan Stanley, where she also specialised in UHNW. Prior to that she worked as a director at Julius Baer for four years, covering both Singapore and China.

Morgan Stanley’s hiring aspirations in Asian private banking stand in contrast with LGT’s. The US bank has merged its private wealth and institutional businesses in Asia and its regional RM headcount fell from 275 to 247 between 2015 and 2016.

“RMs there have been folded into institutional sales, which gives them great access to trading and investment ideas, but not to a full range of wealth management services,” says a headhunter who asked not to be named. “That’s been a push factor for some bankers to leave. I don’t expect MS to do much hiring this year.”

LGT has not responded to a request to comment on Foo's appointment.

Image credit: anirav, Getty

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