Private Banker

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How do you become a Private Banker?

To be a Private Banker, you will need a book size of $100 Million to $300 Million.  The book size refers to financial assets or commonly known as Assets Under Management (AUM).  Most Private Banks denote the dollar amount in USD or the base currency of where the Private Bank is operating in.

Examples of AUM:

Asset TypeExamples
Cash EquivalentsDeposits, Money Market Funds, Treasury Bills
Bonds & DebenturesGovernment Bonds, Corporate Bonds, Credit Notes
EquitiesStocks, Preferred Shares
FundsUnit Trusts / Mutual Funds / Hedge Funds
Private EquityEquity / Funds of Private Equity
Structured NotesStructured Investments
Unleveraged DerivativesOptions


Some Private Banks may include leverage positions as AUM:

DerivativesFutures, Forwards, Swaps
CreditLoans for Investments, Real Estate,Businesses , Aircraft , Arts , Antiques


List of Private Banks in Singapore


$100 Million to $300 Million is a wide range.  How is the book size calculated?

There is no one-size fit all strategy as this is a high net-worth client segment where their wealth size rapidly changes according to economic development.  Some private banks are new in Singapore while some may already have a long established presence.  Some private banks pursue a quick growth strategy while some go for gradual business development.  Below is an illustration of required book size for a Private Banker.  Most private banks set the book size to be built in 2 – 3 years.

New BusinessUSD 50 MillionUSD 100 MillionUSD 300 Million
Established BusinessUSD 100 MillionUSD 200 MillionUSD 300 Million
With Large DatabaseUSD 200 MillionUSD 300 MillionUSD 500 Million
Ultra High NetworthUSD 300 MillionUSD 500 MillionUSD 1 Billion


Source: Caproasia Intel

*If you are an existing Private Banker or in a related roles, you may have a non-solicitation clause (for a period of 3 – 12 months) in your employment contract to establish business contact with your existing client base.  This prevents you from getting your existing pool of clients to the new private bank.  In addition, you should likely be bound by banking secrecy laws.


Why only $50 Million book size? That is not usual.

Private Banker's AUM
Private Banker’s AUM

Some private banks pursue a strategy of grooming new junior Private Bankers.  Since an important skill-set of a Private Banker is networking, relationship management and business development, they are always looking to know more influential and wealthy individuals.  These group of clients have fast-growing wealth.


An entrepreneur or businessman who is worth USD 5 Million may be worth USD 50 Million the next year.  Jack Ma became one of Asia’s Richest Man with a net worth of USD 26 Billion.  His AUM alone is a quarter of leading private banks’ AUM in Asia.


Why not $50 Million book size for everyone?

Private Banks are very expensive to run.  Private Banking clients are highly demanding and requires complex financial solutions, often on a global requirement and outreach.

The scale to run a profitable and sustainable private banking business is extremely important.  After all, private banks are trusted financial institutions that are supported by wealthy and influential individuals.  To have a rocky financial standing and relationship means infuriating wealthy & influential individuals who may not select the bank in their business dealings.  Neither does a Private Banker wants to join a bank with their private banking units at risk of closure every year.


What if you don’t have a book size but wants to become a Private Banker?

Aspiring Private Banker
Aspiring Private Banker

There is a huge demand for Private Bankers in Asia, as wealth is growing at a tremendous pace.  However, the lack of qualified skill-sets and an adapting wealth management industry continues to create a high entry barrier or a non-sustained career for new Private Bankers.

Read More:

The good news is since there is a constant demand for Private Bankers, some banks have huge pool of clients awaiting to be upgraded to Private banking.  This presents opportunities to enter into Private Banking without a ready portfolio of clients.

Examples of ways to become a Private banker without a book size:

  • Join Private Banks with Private Banking Wealth Management Trainee Program
  • Become a Private Banker to provide only basic banking services to their clients
  • Mid-Career candidates with access to high net-worth clients
  • From a well-connected social circle or wealthy family
  • Understudy to a Private Banker leaving or retiring in the next 2 to 5 years
  • Be an Assistant Private Banker

If you are close friends with Jack Ma, Jay Chou, their children or you are the Regional CFO for Wassap, you deserve an interview opportunity


How do you actually get into one?

Private Banker
Private Banker

Many existing Private Bankers in Asia had been in Private Banking for many years.  They were previously Management Associates or Assistant Private Bankers, where over the years, they progress into their role as Private Bankers.  That used to be the Private Banking career process.  Before the year 2000, Private Banking was a low-key affair in Asia, providing only basic banking & investment services.

This has changed since early 2000 where Private Banking & Wealth Management in Asia had grown into a complex one.  Today, the job as a Private Banker is one of the hottest one in Banking & Wealth Management.  So competition is extremely keen.  You can apply by:

Direct Approach:

  • Know a Private Banking Head, Team Leader or Private Banker and get hired directly
  • Get a referral into the Private Bank through someone you know
  • Apply through a Private Banking Headhunter
  • Apply to Private Banks
  • Apply through a Jobs Portal

Indirect Approach:

  • Join a Private Banking Wealth Management Trainee Program
  • Become a Priority Banker
  • Become a Priority Banking Team Leader
  • Become an Investment advisor or Treasury advisor
  • Become a Assistant Private Banker
  • Born in a mega-wealthy family
  • Be well-connected to wealthy & influential individuals


What is the screening criteria?

Private Banking Interview
Private Banking Interview

The screening criteria is very stringent.  Most applicants do not qualify because they do not have the book size or the potential to build the book size.  This is the most important criteria.

More criteria:

  • Book Size / Portfolio Size / AUM
  • Sales & Revenue
  • Client & Portfolio Management
  • Banking & Financial Knowledge
  • Ability to deal with pressure (financial markets and individual targets)
  • Soft Skills (Communication, Confidence, Relationship Building, Networking)
  • Cultural Fit (The Company, the Team, the clients)
  • Regulatory adherences and certifications
  • The potential to do all the above


Factors to consider before Applying

Getting into private banking is a major career decision.  You will be focusing only on managing assets for the wealthy and influential clients.  There are many areas to consider.  Some questions to ask?

  • Are you able to bring the portfolio of clients?
  • Would your clients’ wealth grow?
  • How many of them will follow you?
  • Are you able to grow your contacts & network?
  • Are you able to convince clients to open the private banking account?
  • Are you able to get them to invest in the private banks products & services?
  • Which private bank is right for you?
  • Which private bank is suitable for your clients?


What Private Bankers Say?

Private Banking Team
Private Banking Team

“ Private Banking has become increasingly complex today.  It is not an easy role as we adjust to the demands of clients today in Asia ” DBS Private Banker

” Becoming a Private Banker was a difficult decision.  It is a long-term career path in a very challenging banking & Asian environment.  I was fortunate to be able to go through the 12 months Associate Program.  That gives me a better understanding before my role begins. – Wealth Management Asia Pacific. ” UBS Client Advisor


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