The voluntary exits from Deutsche Bank in Asia we reported on last week are now starting to pick up speed, at least in the firm’s wealth management unit.
Other Deutsche private bankers are likely to follow them – both out of loyalty to Raju and to escape the turmoil now engulfing Deutsche’s wider business.
“There’s a high possibility of more relationship managers leaving DB,” says Liu San Li, a former Coutts private banker, now client director in private wealth management at search firm EMA Partners. “If the captain changes ships in stormy weather, employees could become demoralised.”
Raju’s role and start date at UBS have not been confirmed, although a source close to the bank in Singapore says he may end up managing a new Asian “mega wealth” team catering to clients with assets over CHF100m.
“UBS will want to give him a distinct team to ensure he can bring former Deutsche colleagues to work under his direct management – they might not move otherwise,” says the source.
“Raju is a senior leader so he’s not being hired for his client book; he’s being hired to bring UBS an army of new RMs,” adds former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group. “These days private banks are doing their best to ensure they pick up teams, not just managers.”
Raju has led the expansion of Deutsche’s wealth business in Asia since joining from Citi in 2007. The firm is currently the 8th largest private bank by assets in the region, although it’s RM headcount of about 200 is dwarfed by UBS’s 1,100.
“Because of the growth he’s achieved, he’s very well respected at DB in both Singapore and Hong Kong and has a more loyal following than most managers,” says Sen. “He will aim to take at least 15 to 20 RMs with him to UBS.”
There is likely to be a “trickle of resignations” from Deutsche over the next few weeks, says Sen. “When Raju eventually starts at UBS, some of his team will be in place or on their way. He came to Deutsche with quite a big team from Citi, so he already has a successful record of moving people between banks.”
“Bankers tell me that in the past it was almost impossible to ‘break’ a DB client, they were very loyal. But now – with the troubles that it’s going through – this is becoming much easier,” says a private banking headhunter.
Unlike Barclays and Societe Generale, however, Deutsche is not selling its Asian wealth unit and has already appointed Lok Yim as its interim head.
“DB will try to counter offer to stop RMs leaving,” says Sen. “It needs to show that it can still grow its business in Asia without Ravi Raju.”
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