UOB to boost manpower in private banking

UOB hopes that by 2019, assets under the management of its private bank would grow at a 20 per cent compounded annual rate.
UOB hopes that by 2019, assets under the management of its private bank would grow at a 20 per cent compounded annual rate. PHOTO: REUTERS
UOB Private Bank head Ong Yeng Fang says offering private banking services to existing UOB clients is one way to grow the unit.
UOB Private Bank head Ong Yeng Fang says offering private banking services to existing UOB clients is one way to grow the unit. PHOTO: UOB

Wanted: More relationship managers to tap growing wealth in Asia

United Overseas Bank (UOB) aims to double the number of relationship managers at its private bank by the year's end as it looks to lift its share of this lucrative market.

It wants to increase the number of such managers from about 50 last year to 100.

UOB's total private wealth staff has grown from 240 last year to about 280 now. It wants to grow this number to 300 by the end of this year.

"We always had a private bank, but it was relatively small. The management has given commitment to build this to a different level," Ms Ong Yeng Fang, the head of UOB Private Bank who joined the bank around June last year, told The Straits Times in a briefing.

UOB intensified its focus on its private bank last year to capitalise on growing wealth in Asia.

It also noticed that many of its clients were using private banking services elsewhere.

The bank's efforts seem to have borne fruit. In the 2014 calendar year, its private bank income and net profit after tax increased by 31 per cent from those in 2013.

UOB hopes that by 2019, assets under the management (AUM) of its private bank would grow at a 20 per cent compounded annual rate.

UOB's wealth management AUM, which includes that of the private bank business, grew from $48 billion to $83 billion between January 2010 and June 2015.

Offering private banking services to existing UOB clients is one of the main ways UOB Private Bank intends to grow .

It will also make use of UOB's stronger presence in South-East and North Asia, said Ms Ong.

Through leveraging on these regional services, clients can fulfil a wide range of needs without having to turn to other banks and having to explain their business and background, Ms Ong said.

"Say, we have a client who needs to buy machinery and do trade financing in China. We have a branch in China, we can help him with these. "

Private banking clients can also obtain structured loans from UOB's commercial bank to make personal investments, without having to borrow through other banks.

With a larger team, the private bank also has the manpower to analyse a wider range of investment products. This has enabled it to offer more investment services and recommend more products.

For instance, it now offers to manage and invest assets on behalf of clients according to their investment needs. This service was not previously available.

Another new product the bank is offering its clients is derivatives.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 25, 2015, with the headline 'UOB to boost manpower in private banking'. Print Edition | Subscribe