Standard Chartered has kicked off 2015 by announcing large, Asia-focused job cuts in its retail and equities operations. In wealth management, however, it continues to expand – more specifically, it’s taking on staff to capture wallet share from Asia’s growing ranks of ultra wealthy people.
Stan Chart has announced the promotion of Alison May Chan as managing director for ultra high net worth (UHNW) private banking in Greater China, reports Finance Asia. This is far from an isolated move for the embattled bank – appointments in the second half of last year have included Rahul Raswant as executive director, UHNW banking clients, and Richard Pattle as vice chairman, private banking clients.
Private banking headhunters in Asia tell us that Standard Chartered has budgets in place to hire relationships to managers (RMs) to serve both UHNW (those who have $30m with at the bank) and high net worth clients. Stan Chart’s private bank is outperforming the rest of the firm – the division’s third-quarter income rose 9% year on year. However, with US$45bn in assets under management in Asia, it is still only ranked 12th among private banks in Asia, according to Private Banker International. Headhunters add that some RMs remain reluctant to join a firm that is better known for corporate banking.
Stan Chart is spinning its less glamorous roots as an advantage. In an interview with Barrons last month, its head of private banking, Michael Benz, said: “We have a huge number of existing clients in the commercial and corporate bank, but they are not yet private banking with us.” The assets of families in businesses currently with Standard Chartered are about four times the size of the bank’s private banking business, according to the Barrons report. The ability to turn corporate clients into private ones appears key to career success for RMs at SCB.
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