An anonymous source has told us that a Chinese bank, already operational in Singapore, would be launching a new private banking arm later this year.
Our source declined to reveal the bank’s name. However, we do know that at least one other mainland firm, Citic Bank International, earlier announced intentions to start its private banking business in the republic in 2012.
So where will Chinese firms look to when it comes to hiring private bankers in Singapore? The talent pool in Singapore is already extremely tight.
Jansen Gwee, banking and financial services general manager, Advantage Professional, says: “Definitely the recruitment process is not going to be easy with the firm being a new player in Singapore’s private banking market, so it’s likely to take some time for the firm to complete the whole hiring cycle.”
These new hires are likely to be sourced both locally and internationally. Onshore bankers from China with a strong client base, or local candidates who handle North Asia are most likely to be considered, says Gwee.
What are the main reasons why you might want to join a Chinese private bank? Here are some:
1) Jumping on the China bandwagon
It’s an opportunity to develop China expertise and contacts, says Clarence Law, country manager, Consult Group. “China is at the top of every private bank’s mind when it comes to gathering new clients, new assets and business deals. For any private banker joining a China bank provides a window of opportunity to get into a huge market with untapped potential.”
2) You get to start from somewhere
“Private bankers can leverage on the bank’s existing portfolio so they won’t be starting from zero,” says Gwee.
Joining a Chinese firm may offer more flexibility and even the opportunity to switch jobs within banking. Gwee says: “Nowadays hiring managers are more adventurous and are willing to experiment with candidates with a corporate banking or investment banking background if candidates are looking for a change in sector.”
That’s especially the case if they can leverage on their contacts in North Asia, he adds.
4) The joys of being first
First movers sometimes really do win. Being part of the pioneering batch of private bankers means potentially juicy bonuses if the bank does well in Singapore, says Gwee.
5) Competitive pay
Law says: “Conservative as Chinese banks are thought to be, they understand that the price wars on private bankers are inevitable.” Gwee adds that they are at least likely to pay on par with Singaporean private banks.
Of course there’s always a flip side, so here are the cons of joining a Chinese bank.
1) Not quite as sophisticated
Chinese banks are generally not as up to speed as some of the more established regional and foreign banks in terms of product offerings, platform and support, says Law.
2) Cultural misfit
Local candidates who want to move into a Chinese bank will need to understand the Chinese market and the very different way in which business is conducted, says Gwee. Otherwise, they could just be in for a cultural shock.