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Morning Coffee: UBS embarks on Hong Kong poaching spree with a difference

UBS recruiting in Kowloon

Your lunch break in Kowloon

UBS has been hiring yet more relationship managers (RMs) in Hong Kong – but this time the new recruits haven’t come from global rivals in Central, they’ve come from local firms in…Kowloon.

The Swiss bank is opening a new office in Kowloon early next year in an effort to attract wealthy clients who aren’t keen on crossing the harbour. About 50 people will relocate there –including 30 RMs – roughly 36 of whom currently work for UBS at its International Finance Centre office in Central. The firm has already poached RMs from banks in Kowloon, says Claude Humair, UBS Wealth Management’s regional market manager for Hong Kong, in an interview with Barons.

UBS now has to hire about 10 more RMs and four more wealth planners – who support clients in succession planning, retirement planning and philanthropy – in advance of moving to Kowloon. While recruiting in the talent-short private banking sector is always challenging, the fact that UBS appears open to recruiting from local and Chinese firms should widen the potential talent pool and allow UBS to lure candidates with better salaries and a superior product platform. And as we reported in April, most bankers in Hong Kong still prefer working for large global banks rather than Asian ones.

If you want a job at UBS in Kowloon, you’ll need to know local entrepreneurs who aren’t already UBS clients. These people have generally stuck with the local banks that helped them get their businesses off the ground but don’t have much exposure with wealth management services, reports Barrons.


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