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The crazy rich clients driving Singapore’s new hiring boom

If you’re a private banker in Singapore with experience serving clients in the booming family-office sector, you should consider yourself extremely in demand in the job market.

There has been a spate of family office hires by private banks in the Republic in recent months, sparking a merry-go-round of talent. Among the movers is Kelvin Ling, who has left his role as head of financial intermediaries, family office and EAM, at UOB to join Bank of Singapore as a managing director for ultra-high net worth (UHNW) clients and family office, according to his LinkedIn profile. Ling had been with UOB for about 12 years.

Private banks are particularly fond of recruiting family-office relationship managers because their clients fall into the lucrative UHNW category, which includes some billionaires.

Moreover, the family office sector in Singapore is experiencing a growth spurt. In 2020, 221 single and multi-family offices opened in the Republic, up from 129 in 2019 and just 22 in 2018. Singapore introduced the tax-efficient Variable Capital Company (VCC) legal structure in 2020, designed to attract the assets of family offices and fund managers. Singapore’s reputation as a safe haven has made it an appealing base for North Asia’s ultra-rich to park their assets. High profile Western family offices have also launched, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s Bayshore Global Management.

Last April HSBC launched a new institutional family office in Singapore and Hong Kong, on the back of “greater interest from Asian clients who are setting up and expanding family offices”.

In November 2021, Julius Baer rehired Kevin Tay from wealth firm Sequent Group in the newly created role of  head of wealth planning and family office services for Singapore. In a statement marking his appointment Julius Baer described family offices as a “separate and unique client segment”.

Citi is also building its Singapore-based family office team after recruiting Faye Ong from UBP in July 2021 as head of family office advisory, private capital group. UBS has a large team of what it calls family office client advisors (i.e. relationship managers) in Singapore. Managing director Paterson Lau leads its global family office unit for Southeast Asia. UBS has identified family offices as a key driver for Singapore’s success as a wealth hub.

Deutsche Bank hired former Pictet Singapore CEO Dominique Jooris last August as head of wealth solutions Asia Pacific, a role focused on advising family offices, billionaires and UHNWs.

Photo by Nicholas Fuentes on Unsplash

AUTHORSimon Mortlock Content Manager

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