Morning Coffee: Morgan Stanley to hike Asian private banking headcount by at least 15%

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Yet another bank in Asia is talking up its expansionist ambitions in Asia and how it intends to differentiate itself from the competition. In recent weeks the Asian bosses of Deutsche Bank’s and BNY Mellon’s wealth management units have been interviewed about their growth plans – now it’s the turn of Vincent Chui, Morgan Stanley’s head of Asia institutional equity distribution and private wealth management.

In an interview with Singapore’s Business Times, Chui outlined how Morgan Stanley was enthusiastically perusing its “strategic objective” of leveraging its investment bank to grow its private bank in Asia (and vice versa). "In Asia, there is a lot of synergy between private wealth and the institutional business, unlike in Europe," he told the newspaper, adding that for investment banking to continue growing, it needed more access to Asia's business owners.

But while the strategy may differentiate Morgan Stanley from boutique private banks, other large firms are trying to bridge the gap between private banking and investment banking, too. As we reported in September, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and UBS are also integrating their operations. “In Asia, most ultra-high-net-worth clients own large or medium-sized enterprises, so they often expect one private banker to service all their needs,” Shearer Liu, a private-wealth specialist from headhunters Pro Matrix, told us.

If you’re an investment banker looking to make the move into private banking, Morgan Stanley does still look a particularly good bet, however. Chui told the Business Times that the firm expected to boost its current 100-strong headcount of private bankers in Asia by 15% to 20% over the next 12 to 18 months, with Singapore growing at a “fast past” compared with Hong Kong, where the workforce is currently higher.


Singapore tumbles down the global talent rankings. (Business Times)

Singaporean seek early promotion, says survey. (Asia One)

Meet Hong Kong’s 88-year-old insurance salesman extraordinaire. (WSJ)

Asian Bankers Association conference calls for sustainable banking. (CPI Financial)

China looks to boost bank lending. (Bloomberg)

Standard Chartered opens its 100th branch in India. (Economic Times)

Axis bank offers early retirement to over-40s. (Economic Times)

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