Bank J Safra Sarasin is trying to hire UBS private bankers in Asia, after taking on former UBS managing director Vinay Gandhi as its head of ultra-high net worth in Asia.
Gandhi joined Sarasin in Singapore in March and now wants to recruit because his division is newly created, says a headhunter who has knowledge of the bank and who asked not to be named.
Gandhi is targeting his former employer UBS, where he worked for seven years, most recently as head of UNHW in Southeast Asia.
Sarasin is in the process of hiring about eight UBS relationship managers to join Gandhi’s team, says the headhunter. “For them, it’s a great opportunity to join their old boss,” he adds.
Smaller private banks in Asia such as Sarasin, Pictet and LGT also tend to offer base salaries about 30% higher than those of their larger rivals. “A bank like Sarasin, which isn’t listed, has more flexibility on pay,” says the anonymous headhunter.
“Vinay Gandhi will naturally go after his former team mates at UBS to grow his business, but he has a wider remit to build UHNW in Asia,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group. “BJSS is committed to Asia and will continue to hire.”
“Joining Sarasin is a good move for Vinay and opens up the UHNW segment nicely for the bank. But of course it ultimately depends on the success of the product and platform that the bank is offering to attract the UHNW clients,” adds Sen.
Gandhi, who now reports into Sarasin’s Asia CEO Enid Yip, has worked in Asian wealth management for about 25 years. Before joining UBS in 2010, he was head of South Asia private banking at Deutsche Bank in Singapore. He also held senior roles at Citigroup and Commerzbank.
Bank J Safra Sarasin has not yet responded to a request for comment on its Asian recruitment. CEO Yip said in a statement last month that the firm wants to continue to grow organically in Asia and would welcome private bankers of Gandhi’s calibre.
“The growth challenge for Sarasin is attracting good RMs from larger banks,” says Liu San Li, a former Coutts private banker, now client director in private wealth management at search firm EMA Partners in Singapore. “But hiring from the likes of UBS will help its brand and make other RMs more like to follow.”
UBS employs about 150 UNHW bankers in Singapore and Hong Kong. “It can certainly absorb the loss of a few people,” says the anonymous headhunter.
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