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BNP Paribas makes major hire in Singapore as job market heats up

Sajal Arora BNP Paribas

BNP Paribas has hired a senior relationship manager from Bank of Singapore as competition for non-resident Indian (NRI) bankers heats up.

Sajal Arora joined BNP Paribas early this month as a Singapore-based director, according to his public profile. He focuses on NRI clients at the French firm, as he did at Bank of Singapore (BoS), says a source with knowledge of the hire.

His move is part of a recruitment drive by BNP Paribas Wealth Management (BNPPWM) in Asia. It comes about eight months after co-chief executive Vincent Lecomte announced that he wanted BNPPWM to become a top-five private bank in Asia by assets under management within three to five years. Industry experts told us at the time that the bank would need to recruit about 120 RMs to reach this ambitious target, which would see it rise three places in the AUM league table for Asia.

Arora’s hire follows an NRI move in the opposite direction. Last year BNP Paribas banker Harjeet Singh moved to BoS to lead an NRI team.

These two banks are not the only firms hiring in NRI, an expanding client segment for which Singapore is one of the main global hubs. As we reported last year, Julius Baer recruited veteran banker Sanjeev Sharma from BoS, while Mo Choudhury and Abhijit Shetty joined Standard Chartered from EFG and DBS respectively.

Other 2017 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. And earlier this year, Sagar Anand Sapra joined Deutsche Bank from Stan Chart as a Singapore-based MD. Headhunters do not expect the merry-go-round to stop any time soon.

Like many NRI private bankers, Arora started his career in Indian corporate banking. He worked for Citi in New Delhi between 2001 and 2007 and then moved to HSBC, where he became head of corporate banking for Northern India. He relocated to Singapore in 2010 to join Barclays’ private bank. Arora transitioned to BoS – and was promoted from VP to director in the process – when its parent company, OCBC, bought Barclays’ Asian wealth unit in 2016.

Despite the loss of Arora, BoS has retained most of the approximately 60 RMs who transferred from Barclays. It also added new bankers last year, taking its RM headcount to over 400.

Image credit: BalkansCat, Getty

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