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New COO joins DBS from HSBC in Hong Kong as recruitment drive rumbles on

DBS has hired a new Hong Kong wealth management COO as it continues its expansion in Asian private banking.

Gerard Sharkey, a veteran of several COO and business management jobs, has joined DBS following a three-month contract at HSBC, where he supported the equity prime services and equity derivatives businesses on “a major strategic initiative underpinning the bank’s pivot-to-Asia strategy”, according to his public profile.

Wealth management at DBS, which includes its private bank as well as its two Treasures units covering less affluent clients, is a business and hiring priority for the firm this year.

Across Asia, DBS plans to increase its headcount of relationship managers in its private bank by 20% by the end of 2018 as client demand for its services surges, Joseph Poon, regional head of Southeast Asia, told us last month.  The division currently employs about 200 RMs, so the rise would mean adding approximately 40 bankers.

DBS isn’t only recruiting RMs; it’s also bringing in more business development, investment, operational, technology and compliance staff to support them, says a headhunter with knowledge of the firm’s wealth management arm.

Sharkey’s hire is a case in point – he comes with several years of leadership experience, spanning a range of private-banking functions. Prior to HSBC, he worked for 18 months at UBP in Hong Kong as head of business management and business monitoring, responsible for front-office risk and client-facing regulatory compliance.

Sharkey transitioned to UBP in 2016 when it acquired the international operations of Coutts, the firm that he had been working for since 2012 as COO of products and services for Asia. He ran several teams at Coutts – including business management, business risk management, business monitoring, change management and investment communications – and was the business lead for technology platform development and implementation.

He started his finance career in 1993 at PwC in London and worked for about 10 years in UK financial services management consulting. Moving to Hong Kong in 2004 and joining the banking sector, Sharkey worked in senior equities-business-management roles at J.P. Morgan and RBS, Coutts’ parent company.

Image credit: Nikada, Getty

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AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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