Juniors banking on rich Aussies

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Senior private bankers are in short supply, and banks are turning to juniors to fill the gaps.

This is good news for anyone who hopes to get a foothold in the private banking industry, as normally private banking is a very senior, strategic job (AU$300k plus bonus).

"It is a real struggle to find people," says James Wheaton from recruiter Michael Page. "There is such a shortage, banks are even targeting graduates."

Andrew Black, general manager at St.George Private Bank, says his staff grew 12-13% last year and will grow again this year. "There is a tremendous amount of churn and poaching. There has been 75% churn at the very top, which is most destabilising."

The ever-increasing demand for private bankers is hardly surprising. Most recent Treasury figures show Australian private wealth grew by 19% in the year to 30 June 2006 to a whopping AU$7.5bn - AU$361k per person. Individual wealth has risen for 15 consecutive years and by over AU$150k since June 2001.

Michael Parsons, managing director and head of private wealth at Deutsche Bank, says the field is very competitive. "The globals offer more exclusive top-end products, but retail banks have a huge captive market of customers, and both want clients."

Little surprise, therefore that anyone who can deliver those clients is hot property and that banks are investing in junior talent who just might be able to deliver them in years to come.

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