UBS just poached an HSBC banker for one of its best jobs in Asia

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UBS just poached an HSBC banker for one of its best jobs in Asia

UBS has appointed Chester Wong as desk head of global family office (GFO) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) in Hong Kong. He previously spent two years and eight months as HSBC’s Singapore-based head of investment counselling for South East Asia.

Wong, who is a managing director, now reports to Bryce Wan, UBS’s head of GFO and UHNW in Hong Kong. His hire is significant because both of his sectors are becoming more crucial to private banks’ business strategies in Asia. His former bank, HSBC, launched a stand-alone UHNW unit earlier this year, targeting clients with assets above $30m. US banks such as Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan only service UHNW clients in Asia.

Private banks like UBS in Asia are also expanding the teams that service family offices (sometimes referred to as intermediaries or external asset manager, EAM, units). Julius Baer has made senior hires into its intermediaries team in Singapore, while Morgan Stanley is hiring to service Chinese entrepreneurs establishing family offices in Singapore. Sascha Zehnter, Credit Suisse’s APAC head of EAMs, said last year that his team is growing its headcount in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Wong’s move is also part of a wider hiring drive for UBS, Asia’s largest private bank by assets and front-office headcount. Last year UBS added 101 relationship managers (or ‘client advisors’ as it calls them) in Asia – more than any other private bank in the region.

Wong started his private banking career in 2006 on the UBS wealth management associate programme in Singapore, according to his online profile. In 2008, he relocated to Hong Kong with Merrill Lynch, where he focused on investment advisory for funds, alternatives and structured products across North Asia. Wong joined Julius Baer in 2013 as an executive director and head investment specialist for North Asia. He then worked for Citi as a director and investment counselling team leader, before moving to HSBC in September 2016.

HSBC will be sorry to see Wong go, because private banking has become one of its retention and recruitment priorities in Asia. In September last year it began a recruitment campaign to add about 650 new staff (including RMs) in Asian private banking, mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Image credit: Getty, sivarock

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