If you want to work for HSBC’s expanding private bank in Hong Kong or Singapore, experience of working for or with family offices now appears to be a big plus.
In February, as part of plans to radically overhaul its operations, HSBC announced the merger of its global private banking and retail wealth businesses to create a new wealth and personal banking unit.
“With the combination, there is a big, big focus on family offices going forward,” Hong Kong-based Greg Hingston, regional head of wealth and personal banking for APAC, told Reuters today, adding that this focus aligns with HSBC’s overall aim to increase market share in the high and ultra-high net worth segments.
This likely means that HSBC will want to hire more private bankers to service Asia’s growing legions of family offices, and that candidates with experience of the sector are at a huge advantage, says a private banking headhunter in Singapore.
But finding these candidates may not be straightforward for HSBC – other banks also want to hire them and increase their share of the lucrative family office market. The Asia Pacific region registered the world’s highest increase (44%) in the number of family offices in the two years to July 2019, taking the total to 1,314, according to Campden Research.
Vincent Chui, Morgan Stanley’s head of wealth management in Asia, speaking to Bloomberg last year, noted an increase in wealthy Chinese entrepreneurs setting up offshore family offices, particularly in Singapore. His firm, along with others that service family offices, such as UBS and Credit Suisse, is looking to take advantage of this trend.
Meanwhile, Julius Baer has been expanding its intermediaries unit in Singapore, which works with external asset managers (EAMs) including family offices.
In Singapore, banks are looking to cash in as Chinese millionaires and billionaires shift assets to the Republic and launch family offices. “Encouraging regulatory and tax regimes in Singapore make it conducive for Chinese clients,” says Gagan Mehrotra, a private banker who left Standard Chartered last year to manage his fintech firm.
To add to the competitive job market, family offices are themselves poaching bankers for in-house jobs, say headhunters. Earlier this week Raffles Family Office hired Hong Kong-based Stella Kong, a veteran banker who has worked for Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered and UBS, to spearhead its push into Greater China.
HSBC’s focus on family offices is part of its wider private banking hiring drive in Asia. As we reported in March, HSBC plans to recruit 500 private banking and wealth management staff in Asia by 2022, including an undisclosed but significant number of Hong Kong and Singapore-based private bankers. When we reviewed HSBC’s Hong Kong vacancies last week, we found that five private banking positions had gone live since the start of May, despite HSBC’s global recruitment freeze, which was imposed on 26 March in response to the impact of Covid-19.
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