Achieving career success in private banking in Singapore doesn’t always take decades – it’s possible to make your mark before you get too many grey hairs.
We’ve looked at public profiles of relationship managers (RMs) in Singapore and identified some who have taken comparatively rapid (and interesting) routes into their current client-facing positions.
Chee Chuan Yang, UBS
Yang is a genuine home-grown product of UBS Singapore and rose from graduate to client advisor (the UBS name for relationship manager) in a mere four years. He joined the Swiss firm in 2011 as an investment products and services trainee, before learning the ropes as an investment specialist and then achieving client-advisor status last year. Yang appears to be a fast learner – he’s also passed all three stages of the CFA exams and is now a CFA charterholder.
Mira Liem, ABN Amro
Private banks in Singapore have recently been trying to convert more ‘mass-affluent’ RMs (who typically serve clients with under US$1m in assets) into private bankers. These career changes are typically made within the same firm. Liem, however, managed to move banks and make the significant step up into private banking. From 2012 until December last year she was working in ANZ’s priority banking division, but last month she was appointed a VP in ABN Amro’s private bank.
Julianne Danielle Lim, Standard Chartered
The Indonesian desks of private banks in Singapore are expanding to service the offshore needs of that market’s entrepreneurial clients. Young candidates with Indonesian expertise are highly sought after, even if not all of their experinece is in private banking. Lim joined Stan Chart in 2014 after a two-year stint in off-shore Indonesian retail banking at HSBC and about 18 months as an Indonesian client advisor at UOB.
Bill M B Zhang, ANZ
Since the financial crisis private banks in Singapore haven’t hired many young salespeople from other sectors. But there are exceptions: Zhang began his career at Louis Vuitton in 2007 before ANZ poached him in 2011 as a private wealth assistant in Melbourne, Australia. Impressively, in 2015 Zhang secured a move to Singapore, became a private banker and was promoted to the rank of associate director.
Serene Ang, DBS
Hong Kong isn’t the only offshore wealth centre servicing mainland Chinese clients – Ang’s career is firmly focused on North Asia but she’s based in Singapore. After starting her career in mass-affluent banking at Citi and UOB between 2010 and 2013, Ang then got her big break at ICBC where she “lead the set-up of the ICBC Singapore private banking hub”. She’s now covering North Asia for DBS – a region that the Singaporean firm has targeted for expansion.
Keat Wai Tan, Credit Suisse
As we noted last year, Credit Suisse’s ambitious plans to boost its RM headcount in Asia mean it must look past traditional sources of talent. Tan has forged his career in an atypical way: he began as an auditor at EY and then moved into banking, but not as an internal auditor, as a trader. From 2002 he worked in trader/dealer roles at the likes of Nomura, Societe Generale, Morgan Stanley and Citi. Last year he made a big career change into private banking: “I’ve decided to switch to be a private banker,” he says on his profile, “with the aim to provide sensible advice directly to all my clients.”
Image credit: Chee Siang Fam, iStock, Thinkstock