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Hong Kong banks hiring in-house chauffeurs for senior staff and “VIP” clients

Ride-hailing firm Grab may be recruiting bankers in Singapore, but in Hong Kong banks are hiring drivers to chauffeur their top employees and clients.

Hang Seng bank is currently advertising for “high calibre professionals” to join its operational support team as chauffeurs. The bank has not disclosed how many it wants to take on, but candidates must have two years of “VIP limousine” experience.

The drivers will “provide limousine services for senior staff” and “VIP car services to and from mainland” using the firm’s own vehicles, according to Hang Seng's careers website.

Heng Seng is not alone in employing chauffeurs in Hong Kong. While global banks typically use taxis and chauffeur agencies, many local and Chinese firms have in-house drivers. “It’s not common among American and European banks,” says a former senior Citi MD. “It’s a very Asian-bank perk. Indonesian banks also do it.”

Local banks typically use chauffeurs to impress their wealthy private clients. Relationship managers might arrive at meetings in the company Mercedes, and high-end cars are also used to ferry Chinese clients across the border, or pick them up from Hong Kong airport.

“The local banks in Hong Kong love to do this for super-rich clients. This type of culture used to exist in Switzerland in the ‘80s, but in Asia the culture is still to impress clients with added perks – airport lounge access is another one,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now head of wealth management at search firm The Omerta Group.

“And senior bankers in Hong Kong sometimes use their banks’ chauffeurs to drive them over to Guangzhou and Shenzhen because it’s more convenient and appears more prestigious to clients when they arrive,” he adds.

There’s another reason why Heng Seng is hiring chauffeurs: it wants to keep its clients out of harm's way. “Safety awareness” concerning the “security terrorist threat” is part of the job, as is knowledge of “defensive techniques” to protect of “VIP guests”.

Image credit:: mofles, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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