Deutsche Bank AG is stepping up hiring for its Asian wealth-management business as part of a “multi-year” expansion to bolster a unit that has lost key executives and assets in recent years.
Deutsche Bank Wealth Management plans to add 50 client-facing positions including relationship managers during the second half of the year after hiring 13 employees last month, Lok Yim, the unit’s Asia-Pacific head, said in a phone interview Thursday. He declined to spell out the hiring target for relationship managers, which totaled close to 200 as of December at his unit.
Yim is trying to rebuild the German bank’s wealth business in Asia, which has suffered two years of declining assets under management amid tighter regulations globally that have prompted banks to relinquish non-compliant clients. While it’s in the midst of a broader turnaround plan, Deutsche Bank’s willingness to invest in Asia reflects how serving the region’s rich is becoming a pillar of banking.
Last year “was clearly a year that had a huge amount of uncertainties,” Yim said. “We also had some turbulence and people moving last year. We have had a degree of attrition. But we have proven that we can recover very, very well.”
Yim was previously Deutsche Bank’s North Asia wealth management chief and was named to lead the region after Ravi Raju left last last year to join UBS Group AG. Deutsche Bank also lost Anurag Mahesh, who was then its Singapore-based global head of key client partners, to the Swiss bank around the same time.
Client assets at Deutsche Bank’s Asia wealth unit slumped to $45 billion at the end of last year from $52 billion in March 2015, according to data on the firm’s website. That amount had risen to $48 billion as of March this year.
Other private banks are looking to beef up their operations in Asia, where Capgemini says individual wealth surpassed that of North America for the first time in 2015. Bank of Singapore intends to hire more relationship managers after adding 20 in Hong Kong this year, Chief Executive Officer Bahren Shaari said in an interview Wednesday.
Deutsche Bank’s wealth-management business focuses on individuals holding assets of between $5 million and $25 million at the firm, Yim said. The bank wants to take advantage of its business licenses in various Asian countries to establish an onshore presence, he said.
While wealth in the region is mainly driven by China, Indonesia and India, “there are clearly opportunities in Malaysia, Thailand, Hong Kong and Taiwan,” Yim said.