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Morning Coffee: Career advice from Singapore bank bosses

Career advice from Singapore bank bosses

From the CEO

Two Singapore bank CEOs have offered up career-related advice to private bankers in Asia.

Bahren Shaari, Bank of Singapore’s chief executive, has outlined the dangers of working for a boutique wealth manager in Asia. Firms with less than $20bn under management in Asia may find it hard to sustain their operations, he told Bloomberg. “If you don’t reach a certain size, if you don’t differentiate, if you don’t have the products and the solutions, then you will be forced to consolidate the business.”

With BoS among the mid-ranked players in Asian private banking, Shaari has obvious reasons to downplay the prospects of smaller rivals. But his comments do echo those of private banking headhunters and consultants we spoke with earlier this month. They said that many private clients in Asia are business owners who made their own wealth rather than inherited it. And these entrepreneurs generally like to take more risks with their investments, so they prefer large banks with big balance sheets who can offer leveraged investments.

Meanwhile, if you’re considering whether to forge a career in high-net-worth (clients with over $1m in liquid assets) or ultra-high-net-worth (over $30m) banking, DBS chief executive Piyush Gupta thinks you should actually aim for the former. In an interview with the Financial Times, Gupta said he saw the biggest opportunity in Asian clients with $1m to $3m, not the “mega wealth” sector.

Not everyone in the industry agrees with Gupta, however. Standard Chartered pointed out earlier this year that ultra-rich customers only make up a single-digit percentage of its current client base, but they hold about 40% of its assets under management, suggesting there is vast room for growth.


Why DBS and Standard Chartered bankers won’t be working together. (Financial Times)

Asset managers slap health warnings on China funds. (Reuters)

Singapore banks tell vulnerable staff to work at home as haze worsens. ((Straits Times)

Singapore enters bear market. (WSJ)

Visually impaired man sues Chinese bank for discrimination. (Channel News Asia)

From near-death experience to becoming an investment guru. (Straits Times)

Santander set to expand investment bank. (Wall Street Journal)

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