Olivier Denis, head of OCBC's private bank, told reporters at the launch of its newly renovated office that his unit has rebuilt its team, doubling staff to 170 in the last 18 months and losing only one banker this year.He
said market turmoil could be a reason for the slowdown in hiring, but added bankers also realised that clients were reluctant to move their money from one bank to another too frequently.
"Has the market slowed down in terms of active recruitments?I think it has, yes," he
said."This business is about long-term relationships.If you jump as a relationship manager every two years, you start from scratch all over again."He
said that it takes a much longer time -- as much as 10 years -- to develop stable relationship with clients.Denis, a French national who joined OCBC from American Express Bank, said OCBC lost around 3 percent of private client assets over 2006 and 2007.
Its private banking unit lost almost a third of its private bankers to foreign banks in 2006 at the height of the job-hopping spree in Singapore, when the likes of UBS
and Credit Suisse
were ramping up their business in Asia.
Last year a PricewaterhouseCoopers survey showed that nine out of 10 bankers have been approached by a rival private bank in the last year and 15 percent of the banks interviewed in a survey believed they could lose 30 percent of their staff this year.Denis
said that OCBC
, which conducts private banking in Singapore and Hong Kong to target Indonesia, Malaysia and Greater China, plans to hire more bankers and sees double-digit growth in its business despite volatile Markets.He
declined to provide any figures on assets or revenue.
"Whatever the market conditions may be, we will have the appropriate solutions that these individuals can leverage on to growth their wealth," he