Julius Baer takes on UBS director as aggressive Asian expansion continues

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Julius Baer has poached a director from UBS in Singapore, one of the latest hires in its ongoing Asian expansion.

Sarah Lim joined the investment advisory team at Julius Baer in Singapore last month, securing a promotion to executive director in the process, according to her online profile. She had been with UBS Wealth Management’s Singapore office since 2005, spending the first four years as a client advisor and then working in capital markets advisory.

While UBS remains by far the largest private bank by assets under management and headcount in Asia, Julius Baer is now in the top five in both categories, according to Asian Private Banker. Between 2015 and 2017, its headcount of Asia-based relationship managers shot up by 130 to reach 400 – the largest increase of any private bank not involved in an acquisition during that period.

Its expansion has continued into 2018. During the first quarter, for example, Julius Baer hired DBS banker Laurent Chevalley as a managing director and senior advisor, and recruited Winston Teo from Bank of Singapore as Southeast Asia team head. In May, Sundeep Dua joined from Standard Chartered as a director in Julius Baer’s Singapore-based Indian Subcontinent team.

The recent hiring of Lim shows that Julius Baer isn’t only taking on relationship managers but is now starting to build its investment advisory headcount. Private banks typically recruit more investment advisors (IAs) only after they have increased their RM workforce, says says ex-private banker Liu San Li, now head of banking at BTI Executive Search in Singapore. “Hiring of IAs is more cautious mainly because they’re generally not direct revenue generators,” he adds.

Banks usually add one new IA for every five to seven RMs hired, says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group. “There are exceptions – such as J.P. Morgan, which has a 1:1 ratio – but the industry-wide ratio means there’s never a huge shortage of quality IAs in the market,” adds Sen.

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Image credit: it: it: Rafael_Wiedenmeier, Getty

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