Banks in Singapore hire in battle for family office market

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Banks in Singapore hire in battle for family office market

Banks in Singapore are expanding the teams that service family offices as they try to cash in on the recent proliferation of family offices in the city state.

Several banks have made senior family office hires in 2021, igniting a battle for talent. HSBC fired the opening salvos in April when it launched a new institutional family office in Singapore and Hong Kong, on the back of “greater interest from Asian clients who are setting up and expanding family offices”.

This week, Julius Baer rehired Kevin Tay from wealth firm Sequent Group as head of wealth planning and family office services for Singapore. His role is newly created, and in a statement marking his appointment Julius Baer described family offices as a “separate and unique client segment”.

“We’ll see more of this: banks in Singapore creating brand new family-office focused jobs. If you have experience working with family offices, you’re probably fending off calls from recruiters,” says a senior private banking headhunter.

Citi is also building its Singapore-based family office team after recruiting Faye Ong from UBP in July as head of family office advisory, private capital group.

UBS has a large team of what it calls family office client advisors (i.e. relationship managers) in Singapore. Managing director Paterson Lau leads its global family office unit for Southeast Asia. UBS has identified family offices as a key driver for Singapore’s success as a wealth hub.

Private banks are particularly fond of family-office clients because they tend to fall into the lucrative ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) category, which includes some billionaires.  

In August, Deutsche Bank hired former Pictet Singapore CEO Dominique Jooris as head of wealth solutions Asia Pacific, a role focused on advising family offices, billionaires and UHNWs by “institutionalising their wealth solutions through more efficient structures and vehicles”.

Family offices themselves are flourishing in Singapore. Last year, 221 single and multi-family offices opened in the Republic, up from 129 in 2019 and just 22 in 2018. Singapore introduced the tax-efficient Variable Capital Company (VCC) legal structure in January last year, designed to attract the assets of family offices and fund managers.

Singapore’s reputation as a safe haven has made it an appealing base for North Asia’s ultra-rich to park their assets. High profile Western family offices have also launched, including Google co-founder Sergey Brin’s Bayshore Global Management.

Photo by Chris Fowler on Unsplash

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