HSBC has made a senior appointment to its private bank in Singapore as part of ambitious plans to ramp up headcount across the division in Asia. Roy Teo has joined HSBC Private Banking as head of FX advisory, according to his public profile. He was previously an executive director at LGT, a firm he transitioned to in May last year when it purchased the Asian and the Middle East private banking business of his former employer, ABN AMRO.
Teo has moved to HSBC at a time of growth for its private bank. HSBC announced in September that it wants to add more than 1,300 jobs in Asian wealth management – mainly positions based in Hong Kong and Singapore – by 2022, with about half of these in private banking and the rest in retail. This longer-term headcount goal is in addition to HSBC’s plans, revealed in August, to boost its global private banking headcount by 240 by spring 2019, with most of the new hires based in Asia.
HSBC is already the fourth largest private bank by assets under management in Asia, but until now it has not been recruiting aggressively. Its Asian workforce of relationship managers increased by only 20 (from 450 to 470) between 2012 and 2017, according to Asian Private Banker. CEO John Flint and new head of global private banking Antonio Simoes are now trying to change HSBC’s “conservative” approach to hiring in Asian wealth, says former HSBC private banker Rahul Sen, now a partner at search firm Boyden.
Teo’s appointment shows that HSBC’s recruitment spree isn’t restricted to RMs. “FX advisory plays an important role in a private bank in two main ways: trading FX, and using FX as an investment by moving excess cash from one currency to another depending on the exchange forecast,” says Sen. “FX advisory teams work with RMs and clients to generate trading ideas and also advise clients on holding various FX deposits.”
HSBC is currently trying to generate private banking revenues from a broad range of products, including FX. Its third quarter earnings report, released on Monday, stressed that 60% of net new money inflows in its global private banking division were from “collaboration” with the bank’s other global businesses. The report also reconfirmed HSBC’s commitment to recruiting in Asian private banking: “We continue to invest in our Asian franchise and are maintaining the hiring and investment plans.”
New HSBC recruit Teo was at ABN AMRO for almost seven years, latterly as a senior FX strategist in group economics. He was a “key member of the FX research team that was ranked by Bloomberg as the most accurate forecaster for Asian currencies for several quarters in 2014 and 2015”, according to ABN’s website.
Teo, who graduated from NUS in 1999, worked in financial institutional sales for Commonwealth Bank in Singapore between 2007 and 2009.
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