UBS to open private banking school in Singapore


SINGAPORE: UBS AG plans to open a private banking school in Singapore in the first quarter of next year as it seeks to grow the number of client advisers in Asia by more than 20% annually.  

The school, called the UBS Wealth Management Campus – Asia Pacific, will provide training for about 5,000 existing and future client advisers from the region through 2010, Zurich- based UBS said.  

“By 2030, three of the world’s biggest economies will be here in the Asia Pacific, namely China, Japan, India,” Kathryn Shih, head of UBS Wealth Management Asia Pacific, said at a media briefing recently. “This will result in higher levels of domestic wealth in the region.”  

UBS, Credit Suisse Group, Citigroup Inc and other private banks face an increasing competitive market for management of the US$7.6tril of private riches in the region. Private banks have been recruiting senior bankers from their competitors, reflecting a shortage of private bankers in Asia.  

A wider pool of trained private bankers would help ease competition for talent which had led pay to escalate, said Martin Teo, chief executive officer of the Institute of Banking & Finance in Singapore.  

“The talent pool currently is limited,” Teo said. “In three to five years, a bigger talent pool will be available and that will help to curb pay escalation. That is what we see as the long-term solution.”  

Assets under management at UBS’ Asia-Pacific private banking unit rose to 124bil Swiss francs (US$99.9bil) as of March, from 114 billion francs in December, Shih said.  

Assets under management in the region would outgrow the value of those in Europe in the next two decades, Shih said.  

“The potential will be greater than that of Europe in 20 years,” she said.  

Liquid assets held by individuals in Asia excluding Japan will grow by 9.7% annually until 2010, compared with less than 6% in the rest of the world, according to UBS’ estimates.  

The number of millionaires in the region rose 7.3% to 2.4 million last year, outpacing the 6.9% increase in North America and 4.5% gain in Europe, according to Paris-based Capgemini, Europe’s largest computer services company, and New York-based Merrill.  

“Apart from the mastery of financial planning, private bankers need to develop deep knowledge and keep abreast of the range of investment options, which are increasingly sophisticated, with complex risk-return profiles,” said Monetary Authority of Singapore managing director Heng Swee Keat.  

“The demands made on private bankers will expand as innovations in financial markets accelerate.” – Bloomberg 

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