Sector snapshot: Private banking

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What's happening, who's hiring, and how much are they paying in the world of private banking?

So, what is private banking?

It's all about managing the money of very rich people.

Who's hiring?

"Everyone," says Andrew Black, head of private banking at St George Bank. That means CBA, NAB, Westpac and ANZ, as well as St George and BankWest - both with strong private banking arms. And then there's Macquarie and all the globals.

Michael Parsons, head of private banking at Deutsche Bank, says interest in private banking in the Asia-Pacific region has been so strong, with so much poaching going on, that the banks have "almost had to call a truce."

Who are they hiring?

To become a private banker, Mike Keevy at recruiter Korn Ferry in Sydney says you need a mixture of banking skills and the ability to communicate with very savvy, very wealthy people. "No pointy heads," he says.

This is also one of the few areas of financial services in which grey hairs are desirable. "A 55-year-old with AU$10-AU$20m doesn't want to deal with a 28-year-old with five years' experience," says Parsons. "They want someone who's been in the good times and the bad. And these people are very hard to find: they are probably running their own business or investment bank."

How much are they paying?

For client-facing roles, Keevy says base salaries start at AU$100k to AU$150k. "That's the bottom, but even there the salary has to be good: these people need credibility. A mid-to-high role would have a base of AU$250k plus and a top private banker would get AU$350k plus, not counting bonuses.''

What's the future?

Exciting. "I'm living the dream," says St George's Black. "It's huge," says Tim Beach at recruiter Robert Walters in Sydney. "There's lots of cash around, lots of super, and it is only going to get bigger."

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