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Daily Dispatches – SocGen mulling sale of Asian private bank

Fierce competition for Asia’s rising pool of wealthy has raised the stakes in the private banking segment, and now the first cracks are starting to show.

FinanceAsia reports that Societe Generale, the French bank, is apparently in discussions to sell its Singapore-based Asian private banking business, believed to be worth about US$600 million.

As eFinancialCareers reported, tens of thousands of private bankers are needed to serve the estimated two million high net wealth individuals (HNWI) in Asia by 2015. FinanceAsia says that while there are already about 5000 wealth management professionals in Hong Kong and Singapore alone, growth estimates mean another 6,000 are needed within five years.

Grumpy Goldman Sachs workers gripe about hours

Goldman Sachs may be rated the second best firm to work for on Wall Street, but in Zurich the staff are apparently not overwhelmed. 

The Financial Times reports that the bank’s Zurich offices were visited on Wednesday by members of the local labour inspectorate following a complaint two weeks ago by the personnel union for Swiss banks connected to Goldman’s timekeeping practices.

Goldman is apparently being investigated for overworking its staff.

Deutsche Borse plans Singapore clearing house

Deutsche Börse, the German exchange operator, is planning to build a derivatives clearing house in Asia, based in Singapore, as part of a strategic push into the region, according to the Financial Times.

Asia accounts for 15-20% of global exchange-traded derivatives volume, with the rest split about equally between North America and Europe, according to the Futures Industry Association. 

JPMorgan to increase risk and compliance staff by 5,000

Reuters reports that JPMorgan Chase & Co plans to spend an additional US$4 billion and commit 5,000 extra employees (30% of total staff in this area) to fix risk and compliance issues.

BDO Unibank wins top award

FinanceAsia says it has picked Philippines’ BDO Unibank and the best Asian bank in 2013, beating Malaysia’s Public Bank which was the winner for three straight years.

BDO Unibank was rated on its year-on-year change in profitability; net interest margin;loan-to-asset ratios; return on equity; price-to-book ratios; non-performing loans, credit ratings and analyst ratings.

Other short-listed banks included ICBC; HDFC of India; Bank Central of Indonesia; Shinhan Financial of Korea; Public Bank; DBS; CTBC of Taiwan and Siam Commercial Bank from Thailand.

Hiring sentiment in Asia improves

Singapore Business Review reports that the latest Manpower Employment Outlook reveals that hiring plans have strengthened in Singapore, India and Taiwan in the past quarter, but weakened in Australia .

A year-on-year comparison shows a net-positive outlook for hiring in much of Asia Pacific, with specific growth being recorded in finance, insurance, real estate, mining and construction.

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