Back in June we reported that UBS was getting ready to open a new office in Hong Kong’s Kowloon district early next year to be staffed by 50 relationship managers (RMs).
Now Swiss website Finews is reporting that the target headcount has jumped to 60 or 65, about 40 of whom will be new hires, with 20 to 25 coming from the firm’s main Hong Kong office across the harbour.
For a firm that employs more than 1,200 RMs across Asia, this might not seem like a massive increase – but hiring 10 to 15 extra bankers in a few months is still a tall order in sector as short of talent as wealth management. In addition, while UBS’ vast product platform and capital base make it attractive to candidates, they also mean that firm’s hiring processes can be protracted because RMs clients’ may already have accounts at the Swiss giant.
Candidates will need to negotiate the thorny issue of management of duplicated clients before they join, says Singapore-based headhunter. Moreover, the Kowloon office is likely to demand a niche type of candidate: those with ties to local entrepreneurs. While UBS is bound to eventually reach its staffing target, whether it gets there in Q1 remains to be seen.
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