Now is definitely a good time to be a private banker in Tokyo. With the sector continuing to expand across Asia, it seems most of the domestic and the global private banks are on the hunt for relationship managers.
“Private banking is a growth area in Asia and the view is that the Japanese market is there for the taking. All the major European banks that are strong in this area at home are looking to expand in Japan,” says Warwick Pearmund, a consultant at Slate Consulting.
Hiring isn’t limited to Tokyo either. Some firms are also looking to add headcount in places such as Nagoya and Osaka. And with a shortage of qualified private bankers to go around, talented candidates can expect to attract plenty of interest.
“If you can bring a book of business, firms will take a good look at you. If a qualified private banker called me now, I could have several firms interested in ten minutes,” says Pearmund.
Lionel Kaidatzis, operations director for Morgan McKinley Tokyo, says banks are particularly interested in relationship managers already based in Japan, especially those who focus on ultra high net worth individuals (with US$50 million in assets).
“Generally speaking they are looking for individuals who can bring on a book of business of at least 500m yen six to 12 months of starting,” he says.
Among the Japanese firms, Mika Nomura, business director at Hays Banking, says banks are looking to expand on both the retail and wholesale sides.
“Ideally they want people with native-level Japanese language skills and a minimum of two to three years’ experience as a relationship manager,” adds Nomura.