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12 Reasons why most clients do not give Private Banker AUM in 6 Months

Assets Under Management (AUM), Portfolio, Book Size are synonymous to Private Bankers.  Since 2005, demand for Private Bankers is hot in Asia with fast-growing wealth and instant millionaires & billionaires.


With a mega drive for AUM and managing wealth & assets for high net worth clients, Private Banks are aggressively hiring.  Aspiring Private Bankers are looking to join Private Banks and existing Private Bankers are looking to move to the better identified Private Bank.

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With AUM being the foremost conversations with a Private banker, we look at 12 reasons why most clients do not give Private Banker AUM within 6 Months.


No. 1 How long would you be in your new Private Bank?

Clients dislike change, especially for the wealthy clients.  Would you be happy in your new Private Bank?  In addition, Private Bankers usually have a contractual 6 months non-solicitation clause and/or 3 months garden leave.  That means in all, it takes about 6 months to 12 months before you can start taking care of their assets.

All these are question marks and uncertainties to clients.


No. 2 What if you quit in 1 or 2 years?

Relationship Manager
Relationship Manager

50% of Private Bankers quit within 21 months.  Things change, market change.  The Private Bank may not have been as what you had expected in terms of products, services, support and operations.  Do you continue to open the accounts and get the AUM in?  What if you decide to quit in 3 years?  Why not quit earlier?

Why 50% of Private Bankers quit in 21 months?

As almost half of Private Bankers quit in 21 months, clients are less willing to open accounts or fund a large AUM quickly.


No. 3 Is your new Private Bank and team Comparable & Reliable?

For obvious reasons, your new Private Bank and team must have something that your existing Private Bank couldn’t offer.  Perhaps in products, expertise, geographical reach, regulations, dedicated personalised services.  Clients wouldn’t want a downgrade of services.

So if client held $10 Million with you, you may not get all immediately.  Clients are increasingly giving a smaller sum of $1 Million to $3 Million just to see if your new Private Bank is up to mark.  And as you had likely been preaching diversification for them, that is diversification in practice.


No. 4 Are you going for pay increase, personal career progression, better lifestyle, better products & services or for client’s best interests?

August Holiday
August Holiday

Rarely a Private Banker would move in the best interest of clients, for same or lower pay.  These have changed in recent years (post-2008 crisis), Private Bankers have indeed moved to suitable Private Banks (and Independent Advisory / Family Office / External Asset Management) to act in the best of clients.

However, clients would have lingering thoughts that the Private Banker is leaving for greener pasture or selfish reasons.  So this creates a little sensitivity and distrust, resulting in delayed inflows of AUM.


No. 5 Is your new Private Bank leadership sound?

Private Banks are going through series of consolidations globally.  Without a sound leadership, things may change.  Since the leaders may not be in the Private Bank for the next 10 years, it isn’t hard to imagine the kind of decisions that would be made during this few years.

And high net worth clients are not ignorant to this fact.  Some clients would ask: Who is your CEO?  How long has he/she been here?  Where was he/she from previously and for how long?  What’s their background?


No. 6 Is your new Private Bank sound?

Financial Crisis in Greece
Financial Crisis in Greece

With the constant communication of Tier 1 or Tier 2 Ratio and strong capitalised banks, it is clear the risk is present.  Banks are supposed to be trusted and reliable.  Needing to market how secure the bank is, reveals the state of the financial system.

With a recovery process highlighted by the ongoing consolidations, clients no longer trust the face value of what banks are saying relative to pre-2008 crisis.  So clients tend to take a wait-and-see approach.

Read More: 5 Shocking deals that shake-up Private Banking in Asia


No. 7 Other than the Private Banker, is there any major difference between the existing Private Bank, and the new Private Bank?

All Private Banks have their strengths and weaknesses.  When clients start to analyse and assess these factors, they no longer rely on either the Private Banker or the Private Bank.

Clients are now taking their wealth management decisions into their own hands, and making more informed decisions and larger responsibilities.


No. 8 Will the AUM transfer result in unnecessary expenses, lost opportunities or losses?

Private Banking Clients
Private Banking Clients

If a $100 Million AUM transfer could result in loss of $3 Million in expenses, lost opportunities or losses, why would client transfer? As Private Banks fail to deliver on protecting clients wealth, clients have gone on an expense and risk monitoring exercise.

Why incur such risks when there isn’t a need to.  Plus, there isn’t a strong investment & information competitive advantage, compared to the decades of 1980s and 1990s.

Sensitive Cases:


No. 9 Will there be operational mishap in the transfer?

There isn’t just a war & competition between Private Banks & Private Banks or Private Bankers for Clients.  Fund Management Firms, Custodians, Trust Companies compete too.  They have their preferred alliance of banks.

This means your new Private bank may accept investments or securities that your existing Private bank can’t do, your new Private Bank will have also some investments and securities that cannot be transferred to your new Private Bank.

That is going to be a big headache for you and for your client.  That brings us to the next point.


No. 10 Will your client be frustrated with the transfer?

Private Banking Account Discussion
Private Banking Account Discussion

Documents for account opening, disclosures, disclaimers and assets & loans transfers, notifications to service providers and many more.

Unlike family offices where there is a dedicated team of specialist to assist with the documents, most private banking clients will have to vet and sign all documents themselves.  It is extremely tedious and painful.  So clients spend a great deal of time thinking if they should do the AUM transfer.


No. 11 Will their new Private Banker, be better than you?

With all the reasons why clients resist and delay AUM transfer, the most imminent threat is their new Private Banker.  There may be things that clients didn’t like about you or your team, and now there is an opportunity of fresh blood coming in, and possibly do better than you.

How do you compare?  Would the new Private Banker be better than you?


No. 12 The existing Private Bank will retain them, wouldn’t they?

Head of Wealth Management
Head of Wealth Management

The non-solicitation clause and the garden leave were supposed to deter you from bringing the client and their AUM to another bank, isn’t it?

Private Banks will go all out to retain the clients, no matter how good your relationship is with your ex-colleagues & Private Bank.  Welcome to banking and friendly competition. Read More: Citibank sued 7 bankers joining UBS for data-theft

These are the 12 Reasons why most clients do not give Private Banker AUM within 6 Months

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2020 Report: Singapore Asset Mgmt - $3.48 Trillion AUM

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