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Swiss bank recruits new MD as it carries on its Asian hiring spree

Julius Baer has made an MD-level hire in Hong Kong – a signal that it is continuing its aggressive Asian expansion. Veteran private banker Sanjeev Sharma joined the firm earlier this month from Bank of Singapore.

Last year Julius Baer added 110 relationship managers in Asia – more than any competitor, excluding those involved in acquisitions – taking its RM headcount to 380, the fifth highest in the region. As recently as 2012, it only employed 100 Asian private bankers, although its workface was bolstered in 2013 by its takeover of Merrill Lynch’s international wealth unit.

“JB has about $85bn in AUM in Asia and wants to eventually grow to Credit Suisse levels, which effectively means doubling its headcount and assets,” says a headhunter who has knowledge of Sharma’s move.

As it did last year, Julius Baer also has Credit Suisse RMs on its radar – the rival Swiss bank is the former employer of its CEO, Boris Collardi, and several CS bankers have already joined JB in Asia.

Sharma is senior client advisor covering the non-resident Indian (NRI) market, says the headhunter. The banker describes himself online as a “money manager for the mega rich”, the so-called ultra-high-net-worth segment of private banking, which is dominated by business owners.

His move from Bank of Singapore’s Hong Kong office, where he worked for three years and four months, involved a promotion from executive director to managing director. Prior to that Sharma spent almost four years at Standard Chartered as a director.

The senior job market in NRI has been particularly active lately. As we reported last week, Bank of Singapore is itself building NRI capabilities, having recently recruited Harjeet Singh from BNP Paribas as a team leader. BoS also took on Chandan Gupta from DBS in April.

Other recent NRI moves include Divya Menon joining Credit Suisse from DBS, and Feroze Sukh moving to Safra Sarasin from ABN AMRO, along with a six-strong team.

Like most of his NRI contemporaries, Sharma made his name onshore in India (at Citi) before moving offshore – he transferred internally to Hong Kong.

Julius Baer has not yet responded to a request to comment on Sharma’s move.

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