Ebc Private Banking

APAC Private Banking trends and salaries in 2020

An Ethos BeathChapman Banking and Financial Services perspective on what hiring managers should know in today's market.

By: Martina Potocar and Chris Poh, Banking & Financial Services

2019 turned out to be a challenging year for private wealth management, with several factors at play including the digitisation of the industry and private bankers' loss in commanding favorable fees, market conditions, and the increasing need for not only full solution platforms, but also a more targeted approach towards sustainable investments. 

It is not all doom and gloom though. With an increase in investment needs by clients, there has been an uptake in focus and strategic hiring taking place in certain sectors of the wealth space.

Political-economic changes
Which market is hot and which market is not? These days, it’s anyone’s guess. The ever-changing political-economic scene in the West has seen Asia become a key financial hub for global investors. Yet, the East is not without its problems, with the Hong Kong drama causing its own storm. One thing is for certain though, Southeast Asian markets continue to be at the forefront of investment focus.

D is for Discretionary. E is for ESG.
2019 has seen the rise of two types of investors. The Savvy Investors (who are looking for a one-stop solution for their personal and business investments) and the Conscientious Investors (who are looking towards impact investing). Private banks have stepped up their game to cater to these growing investment needs and with that, comes new specialisations and hiring needs. As we enter 2020, the question and focus that should be on everyone’s mind is, how do we stay profitable and sustainable simultaneously?

Of robots and EAMs
The new boys are in town. In the red corner, the rise of robo-advisory has caught the eyes of millennial investors, who are in search of accessible and efficient wealth advisory. In the blue corner, we have the ever-growing external asset management companies (EAMs) and family offices that promise a ‘client first’ mentality, along with the allure of bespoke tailor-made solutions that meets the client’s every needs.

Investment bankers join the private game 
With a strong focus on capturing the wealth of ultra high net worth (UHNW) investors, private banks have increasingly tapped onto the expertise of investment bankers to aid in providing a one-stop investment solution to the tier 1 clients. Coupled with a shaky investment banking climate, 2019 has seen an influx of investment banking hires by private banks to manage the most complex UHNW investment needs.


Ushering in the new decade with digibanks
Every banking conversation today will inevitably lead to the topic of digital banking. With that, brace yourselves as digital banking licenses are expected to be issued by mid 2020. 

What this effectively means is an added layer of competition, along with an increase in more specialised roles that banks will hire for. Conventional mindsets will need to change, and it’ll be wise to not be caught out because technology will come into play, like it or not. 

Look out for the gaps
EAMs and family offices will continue to pick out pockets of gaps that private banks are unable/unwilling to manage. From a greater focus on ESG investing, to more sophisticated investment needs of clients, the investment landscape has, and will continue to change. Therefore, expect more collaboration between private banks and EAMs, as well as a stronger cross collaboration between the private, corporate and investment divisions as banks look to provide a more holistic investment solution for their clients, and ultimately reduce their cost to income ratio if they play their cards right. 

Giving back to society
Following up on the impact investing trend of 2019, a common theme amongst Asia’s most wealthy UHNW clients would be their commitment to philanthropy. Expect private banks to pour more resources towards providing philanthropic advisory, along with family and wealth planning for their most wealthy family clients.

ASEAN markets will continue to thrive
Wealth in developing markets will be key in 2020, with many financial institutions looking for relationship managers with the ability to network in offshore markets. More often than not, there will be a strong uplift in compensation package to attract such talent. Thailand, Vietnam, Myanmar and Philippines being the key emerging wealth that most private banks will be wanting to sink their teeth into. 

Advice to hiring managers
From private banks to family offices, everyone wants to hire that stable senior relationship manager with the clean-cut book. 

When all players in the market are after the same talent profile, how do we ensure we attract, retain and hire the most valuable player?

In this trends and salary report, we share advice to private banking hiring managers on:

  • Winning the top talent you are after

  • Developing your talent pipeline

  • Ensuring your package is competitive

If you are hiring across Asia Pacific, an interested senior professional or someone keen to discuss the private banking recruitment landscape, do reach out to us: and 

For APAC banking and financial services career opportunities, search here.

Related content:

2020 Banking & Financial Services hiring trends and salaries
This complete 2020 Banking and Financial Services report encompasses hiring trends and salaries for front, middle and back office functions.

About Ethos BeathChapman, EBC:
We are a global group of executive recruitment experts in Australia, Asia and EMEA, with a network beyond. We connect exceptional people to exceptional companies. Established 2005 in Sydney, our multidisciplinary expertise covers corporate and specialised functions across Banking and Financial Services, Fintech, Technology, Legal, Risk, Compliance, Healthcare, and Consumer recruitment markets, among others. For more information:  

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