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Morning Coffee: More senior staff set to quit big finance firms in Asia?

More wealth managers set to go it alone in Asia?

Bound for a start-up

Could we soon see a flood of departures from Asia’s wealth and asset management industries as experienced senior staff seek to set up their own shops?

Asian Investor has identified the early stage of a trend that will have private banks – already short of experienced talent – worried. It reports that Goh Seng Kee, chief executive of Maybank Asset Management, is leaving the firm to start up an as-yet-unnamed “disruptive” new company in the wealth management distribution space. The news follows the departure of several private bankers from their sector this year, including Stephan Repkow who left Swiss bank UBP in June to launch an independent wealth platform.

Why would more wealth managers be tempted to leave an industry which is expanding on the back of rising private wealth across Asia? There appear to be three key reasons. First, as we reported earlier this week, fintech start-ups are proving that it’s possible to use technology to challenge the large wealth managers. In the US, two of the leading ‘robo advisors’, Betterment and Wealthfront, now manage $2.2bn and $2.3bn respectively.

Second, as we noted early this month, careers at boutique private banks in Asia aren’t all they are cracked up to be – profit margins are thin and bankers face growing revenue pressures. Third, Asian Investor points out that a growing number of rich people in Asia are turning to multi-family offices and external asset managers, primarily because they offer more independent advice than the large banks.


BAML to cut about 200 investment banking jobs, including some in Hong Kong. (Bloomberg)

Temasek grooms new leadership as Ho to return in October. (Bloomberg)

Chinese banks face up to online finance challenge. (Caixin)

ANZ wins green light for Myanmar office. (The Australian)

Naina Lal Kidwai to step down as chairperson of HSBC India. (Economic Times)

Singapore population growth slowest in a decade. (Today)

Why Citi should ditch its retail business. (CNBC)

Why Goldman Sachs is like Walmart. (Wall Street Journal)

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