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Morning Coffee: Credit Suisse struggles to find enough bankers in Asia

Credit Suisse hiring in Asia

Hiring can be tough

Last week we predicted that Credit Suisse would want to hire more relationship managers (RMs) for its Asian private bank, but that bringing them on board would be the hard part. Now the bank’s talent demand/supply problem is official. Francesco de Ferrari, Singapore-based head of Asia-Pacific private banking, has told Bloomberg that it’s difficult finding enough RMs to cater for Asia’s expanding millionaire population, which he numbers at about seven million.

“We are growing our business so the demand has no limit,” said de Ferrari without giving specific hiring targets. “One of the big challenges is the shortage of talents, of qualified people.”

The firm’s headcount of RMs rose by 11% to reach 490 last year, according to Asian Private Banker. Even matching that growth rate – which means hiring more than 50 new bankers – will be challenging. The sector is already talent short and competition from other firms is heating up – earlier this week Morgan Stanley announced plans to boost its private banking workforce by 10% to 20% in Asia this year. Meanwhile, some bankers remain reluctant to join Credit Suisse because too many of their clients already have accounts with the Swiss giant.

Credit Suisse may like to instruct its recruiters to search the ranks of ANZ for private banking talent. The Australia firm has suffered a string of recent departures as it reorganises its private banking team in Asia, reports Wealth Briefing Asia. Debra Tay, market head Singapore, Malaysia and international clients, and two bankers in her team, Aloysius Lee and Doris Que, have resigned but are still serving their notice periods. Last month industry veteran Manfred Liechti, global head of private banking at ANZ, also left the firm.

Despite these losses, ANZ is still targetting expansion in Asian private banking. It has consolidated its Asian private banking and wealth units and last month appointed Singapore-based Bret Packard to oversee the merged business. Headhunters we spoke to at the time tipped Packard to add to his department’s headcount, although they were concerned about ANZ’s ability to poach high performers away from larger rivals.


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