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Actually, you should clearly be working in private banking

As we noted last week, margins in private banking are under pressure after a lot of hiring and not much in the way of additional revenues.

Unless things improve soon, headcount in private banks will clearly need to be ‘rationalised’ to bring margins up.

For the moment, however, experienced private bankers remain the Holy Grail. And they’re so expensive that banks are falling over themselves to find and train promising juniors instead.

In this morning’s UBS conference call, Oswald Grubel pointed out that UBS is now spending CHF100m every year in an effort to train junior private bankers at its internal ‘Swiss private banking university.’

UBS is making a similar effort in Singapore, where it plans to train 25-50 private bankers as part of its aspiration to increase private banking headcount by 400 Asia over the next few years.

Gigantic hiring

UBS aside, Bloomberg points out that demand for private bankers in Asia is enormous. Standard Chartered aspires to add 100 relationship managers over the next 12 months, RBS Coutts wants to hire 200 over five years, and Bank of Singapore wants to hire 30 within an unspecified time frame.

London private banking headhunters say there’s also big demand for relationship managers in Europe. BarCap, Credit Suisse and JPMorgan are all hiring here.

Therefore, even though margins are plummeting, headhunters say private banking relationship management jobs are totally safe: “It’s impossible for banks to grow and maintain a salesforce whilst also making redundancies,” mulls one.

As long as this mindset endures, private bankers have reason to be immensely cheerful. “Prices for good people are the highest ever,” says Grubel.

Comments (9)

  1. Some positive news!

  2. I agree to go into private banking. However it is nearly impossible as you need to have a book. Without a book they do not hire you, even if you have a lot of investment banking and CRM and advisory experience in equities, forex, fixed income and other products such as tax, estate planning, art …
    So as an ex- institutional sales and CRM, as an ex trader, as an ex corporate banker I had no chance for the last 5 years to get a salary paid job in private banking.
    No in Luxemburg and Switzerland: too qualified and no book. One does not need a book as there are so many inactive accounts that can be put to life and on which a lot of fees can be earned. But immediate return is what management needs today rather than satisfied clients in the long run.
    Sure as an independent on a fee basis there is plenty of opportunities, but the quality of those houses is not always what I am used to.
    So any advice which private banking division (that does not require a book but multilingual market experienced bankers) to contact is more than welcome. I am flexible as far as bankers’ location is concerned

  3. This is a perverse article! Apparently, the industry is overstaffed and therefore one concludes there is no current way into a career in private banking. Furthermore, if the private banks are recruiting, it is entry level candidates and therefore don’t bother if your over 23yrs old. Finally, and having recruited and only seen a commensurate increase in costs (and not revenues), private bank recruiters will probably be even more ‘selective’ or ‘cynical’ in future recruitment campaigns and therefore the route into a role in a private bank will be even more barred. In summary, contrary to what the article says, the conclusion is that private banking is closed for the foreseeable future so candidates should focus their energies elsewhere

  4. …I think the 100m per year is for the “UBS Business University” – all UBS internal education, not just to train junior bankers.

  5. 3/10, Sarah tries hard but really must do better in this area. Greater attention to detail and more thorough research would produce a better piece of work.

  6. @everyone – in my defence, the previous article said private banking was overstaffed, this one effectively says that while private banking’s overstaffed there’s unwillingness to make anyone redundant for fear that it will affect business, and that senior people are so expensive there’s a desperate need to train up juniors. The headline should really be, ‘Actually, you should clearly be working in private banking if you are a senior private banker with a large book of clients, or a junior who wants to train to become a private banker.’ This would, however, be a bit long.

    Sarah, Editor, eFinancialCareers Reply
  7. Private banking holds onto senior bankers with strong client books or trains aspiring juniors.

    A word or two for your ear, Sarah…and thanks for the good effort

    casual_commentator Reply
  8. Are banks afraid of making private bankers redundant?
    How does a just traied junior take the place of a senior RM?
    Are the enlightened banks still looking for a book with dubious % transfer value?

    Could the new Sherlock Holmes provide the answers as our dear Ed seems a bit at sea on this one! (we need smileys!)

  9. I am relatively young and working as an independent financial adviser, I have had to finance everything to establish myself. I have no P.A booking meetings, no vast institutional database to help identify and contact potential clients, no company assistance of analysts in assessing the markets or the many (and changing) international tax regimes and tax efficient structure. In short I have all the attributes a good private banker needs and I do wonder just what I would be capable of if I had the resources and career support of a private bank behind me. Yet as mentioned it seems to be a chicken and egg scenario. You don’t have 50 million under management then you are not interesting – but they will train young kids. So I ask what about the people inbetween as it seems to be no mans land but there is a lot of talent and experience out there looking for the right opportunity who get fobbed off by most recruiters?

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