INVESTMENT BANKING | Staff Reporter, China

China's explosive wealth boom triggers private bank hiring spree

Homegrown and international banks are aggressively hiring.

Bloomberg reports that the boom in high-net worth wealth in China means no shortage of clients for domestic private banks who enjoy home court advantage and international banks who are only recently joining the fray.

Also read: China's Industrial Bank to digitise private banking unit

The recruitment priorities however differ as local banks who already enjoy a strong customer base need greater manpower called ‘farmers’ to grow the offshore investments of its wealthy Chinese clients whilst international banks like UBS and Credit Suisse are still beefing up their respective ‘hunter’ teams as throw in their bids to manage Asia’s growing wealth.

“We don’t need people to hunt for customers. We already have a lot of customers,” said Joseph Tam, head of private banking at Industrial Bank Co. in Hong Kong. “Foreign banks are expanding their assets under management through hiring as they don’t really have the client pool.”

Also read: China's ultra rich to boost Hong Kong wealth management assets by 50% in 2023

However, Chinese banks have yet to achieve the scale of their international counterparts as they offer largely simple wealth management solutions that are focused on equities, bonds and insurance whilst global firms offer more diverse options that includes philanthropy, sustainable investing and art.

“They are starting from two very different positions,” Tjun Tang, senior partner and managing partner at Boston Consulting Group. “It will take some time to build the assets under management for Chinese banks in Hong Kong and Singapore for the private banking sector.”

Of the 814 billionaires in Asia Pacific in 2017, 475 were from Greater China who had an average wealth of US$3.24b to account for nearly one if five of the world's billionaires, data from UBS and PwC show. 

Here’s more from Bloomberg:

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