About 100 of the 300 new private banking staff that Deutsche Bank is hiring globally will be based in Asia.
Fabrizio Campelli, global head of Deutsche Bank Wealth Management, told Reuters earlier this week about the firm’s plan to take on about 300 more relationship and investment managers globally. Campelli didn’t reveal Asian numbers in that interview, but a spokesperson for the bank has now confirmed that approximately a third of the new hires will be based in the region.
The recruitment drive is part of chief executive Christian Sewing’s restructuring of Deutsche’s operations, which prioritises wealth management and may lead to 15,000 to 20,000 redundancies in less profitable units, particularly in investment banking and trading.
The Asian hiring plans have been given a cautious welcome by industry experts. “This makes good sense as the bank tries to recover from its losses in global markets,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now a global leader in private wealth management at search firm Boyden. “But it has to be a five to seven-year plan to yield positive results,” he adds.
Deutsche’s recruitment may not be entirely straightforward. In Asia, the German firm is trying to bulk up in a competitive and talent-short job market. Several other private banks, including industry leaders like UBS and Julius Baer, are expanding their headcounts in Hong Kong and Singapore. HSBC is in the midst of an even larger drive to add about 650 new staff in Asian private banking.
Given the wide range of potential employers on offer and the general turmoil at Deutsche globally, why would a relationship manager in Asia choose to work for Deutsche?
“DB’s image has been bashed recently, but it still has a good brand name and a well-established platform,” says Liu San Li, a former private banker, now a business partner at wealth management firm Avallis in Singapore. “DB can be a hard sell for traditional private banking clients, but it’s a suitable bank for RMs with entrepreneurial clients, who also need corporate banking and IB solutions,” he adds.
It may still be difficult for Deutsche to attract RMs from UBS and Credit Suisse, Asia’s two largest private banks by assets, because these firms are ahead of Deutsche in their cross selling of IB products to private clients. “UBS and CS are top-tier private banks in Asia with tier-one investment banking arms. It’s very difficult for DB to emulate the huge success they’ve had here,” says Liu.
Deutsche’s recent recruitment track record in Asian private banking gives it cause for some optimism, however. Last year it added 30 RMs in the region, putting it in third equal place (with Julius Baer) for front-office recruitment, behind UBS and HSBC, according to figures from Asian Private Banker.
Wealth head Campelli told Reuters that Deutsche's problems at its investment bank are not hindering its private banking hiring. “We’re paying them market rate, there is no need to pay a premium,” he said, referring to recruitment globally.
Image credit: Getty
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