Debra Tay, a senior Singapore-based private banker, has left Credit Suisse for rival UBS. This is the second time in two and a half years that Tay has shifted to a firm with larger Asian private banking operations.
Tay joined UBS earlier this month as an executive director, according to her online public profile. Prior to Credit Suisse, she was market head of Singapore, Malaysia and international clients at ANZ.
Her April 2015 move to Credit Suisse, then a much larger wealth platform than ANZ, was reported at the time because she took two team members with her and their departures came not long after ANZ announced it would combine its private bank and global wealth divisions in Asia. The Australian firm then sold the merged unit to DBS the following year.
Tay’s latest job move sees her working for an even more dominant player in Asian private banking. Last year UBS managed $286.4bn in Asian assets, compared with Credit Suisse’s $163.8bn.
The Swiss giants are not averse to poaching relationship managers from each other in Singapore and Hong Kong.
“They have very similar cultures and styles of private banking. If bankers are unhappy with their current set-up, then the other Swiss bank is a natural destination if they wish to remain in a big firm,” says Rahul Sen, a former Merrill Lynch private banker, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group.
“But there’s a general opinion in the market that UBS is a better place to work because you don’t have to worry so much about internal politics,” he adds.
Both UBS and Credit Suisse want to expand their wealth headcounts in Asia. In May, UBS announced a new goal of hiring 100 private bankers in Hong Kong over two years.
Credit Suisse wants to have 800 private bankers in Asia by the end of next year, but its second quarter results revealed that it still had to recruit 190 RMs to meet this ambitious target.
Unusually, Tay had not worked in private banking before she became an RM at ANZ in 2009. She worked for Standard Chartered from 2001 to 2007, latterly as an associate director in global investor sales in Hong Kong, according to her online profile. She then did a stint of one year and nine months at FTN Financial in Hong Kong as a director in fixed income sales.
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