Morgan Stanley hires 7 private bankers from Deutsche

Morgan Stanley hires 7 private bankers from Deutsche

Singapore: Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management arm in Asia has hired seven senior private bankers from Deutsche Bank’s private bank in Singapore, banking sources said on Monday.

The bankers which include Victor Lee, the former head of Deutsche’s private banking team covering Singapore, will handle ultra-rich private clients in the city-state, the sources told Reuters.

A Morgan Stanley spokesman in Hong Kong confirmed that private bankers have been hired, but did not provide details.

The hire marks the latest case of job-hopping in Asia’s fast growing but fiercely competitive private banking market.

Singapore saw the fastest increase globally in the number of high-net-worth individuals in 2006, according to a Merrill Lynch/Capgemini report.

The number of people with more than $1 million in financial assets excluding their home rose 21.2% to 66,660 in Singapore.

Morgan Stanley’s private wealth management arm focuses on clients with at least US$25 million in assets. The US bank said in September it plans to almost double its headcount in Asia over the next three years as it expects its business to grow at a double-digit pace.

Last month, Citigroup’s private banking arm said in an internal memo it had hired the chief executive of Barclays’ private banking in Asia, Nigel Sze, to head its division that advises rich Asian clients on investments.

Global private banks are competing in Asia to grab a slice of the growing population of 2.6 million “high net worth individuals", who according to the Merrill Lynch/Capgemini report had $8.4 trillion of assets at at end of 2006.

This has led to a race for talent as rival banks entice expensive bankers from competitors to help fight more established players like UBS, HSBC and Citigroup

A PricewaterhouseCoopers survey in July said staff defections are the biggest threat facing private banks in Asia this year, as nine out of 10 private bankers surveyed by them admit that they have been approached by a rival over the last year.

Citigroup earlier this year lost 18 private bankers to Deutsche Bank in Singapore -- the second serious exodus from the U.S. banking giant in the city-state in a year.