HSBC’s new Hong Kong MD is from JP Morgan. Now it needs more people like him

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HSBC’s new Hong Kong MD is from JP Morgan. Now it needs more people like him

As we recently reported, HSBC’s private bank needs to poach from the likes of JP Morgan if it’s to successfully build out its new ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) team in Asia. Now it appears to be doing just that. Kaykay Yan, who worked at JP Morgan for 12 years, has joined HSBC Private Banking in Hong Kong as a managing director.

HSBC revealed last week that it has established – and will expand – an UHNW team in Asia, serving clients who have assets of about $30m or more. The move is part of a wider push, announced in September, to add about 650 new staff (including relationship managers) in Asian private banking, mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore.

This means that bankers like Yan from the likes of JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs – which have strict client-wealth thresholds and only service the mega rich in Asia (as opposed to mere high-net-worth millionaires) – are now prime candidates for HSBC jobs, says Liu San Li, a former private banker, now a business partner at wealth management firm Avallis in Singapore. And while HSBC has always served UHNW clients, the establishment of a stand-alone unit will make it at least slightly more appealing to RMs from firms with UHNW teams.

Still, headhunters in Asia do not expect an exodus of bankers from JP Morgan to HSBC. Ultra rich people in Asia are notoriously reluctant to endure the more rigorous onboarding procedures that banks now demand for new clients, making their RMs reluctant to attempt job moves. Meanwhile, JPM’s sole focus on UHNW makes it appealing to RMs.

Luring bankers away from JP Morgan – and from UBS and Credit Suisse, which boast established UHNW teams – will likely require HSBC to substantially increase salaries and offer upgrades of corporate rank, says Liu. It’s unclear whether new HSBC recruit Yan has gone straight into the UHNW team, but his move did land him a promotion from executive director to MD.

HSBC’s Asian private bank was under-represented in the firm’s round of internal MD promotions earlier this month, further suggesting that it’s looking to staff up its senior ranks by poaching from rivals.

Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: smortlock@efinancialcareers.com

Image credit: teddyleung, Getty

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