CIMB Adds Seven Hires at Singapore Private Bank in Asia Top 20 Push

  • Malaysian bank close to 20th with $11 billion under managment
  • Private banking chief Kong says CIMB hiring ‘selectively’

A pedestrian walks past a CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. bank branch.

Photographer: Charles Pertwee/Bloomberg

CIMB Group Holdings Bhd. has hired seven people recently at its private bank in Singapore, according to a person familiar with the matter, as it seeks to become one of the top 20 Asian players in the sector.

Five of the hires have already started and the remaining two will join by September, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the matter is private. Some are relationship managers who worked at Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd., which last year sold its wealth and retail banking units in Singapore and four other markets to DBS Group Holdings Ltd., according to the person.

DBS is still integrating the ANZ operations, and it remains on track for completion in all markets by early 2018, a DBS spokesman said by email. He added that while attrition is inevitable, the majority of employees from ANZ will be moving over to DBS.

Sooi Lin Kong, the head of investment and private banking businesses at CIMB, declined to confirm the hires in an emailed response to questions. She said Malaysia’s second-largest bank by assets is expanding its services to the wealthy in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand.

“We aspire to be in the top 20 in the Asian Private Banker AUM League Table within the next three years,” said Kong, who has spent more than two decades at CIMB. Kong added that the bank may consider an acquisition should an opportunity present itself.

CIMB’s private bank currently manages $11 billion in assets, she said, a figure close to that of Union Bancaire Privee, which was in 20th spot in Asian Private Banker’s 2016 rankings of the region’s largest private banks.

CIMB is among Asian banks seeking to grow revenue from wealth management and rely less on interest income in a low-interest rate environment with limited loan growth. Larger Singapore competitors including DBS and Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp Ltd. have made it into the top 10 in recent years. UBS Group AG placed first with $286.4 billion of assets.

Kong, who has been with CIMB since 1994, was made chief executive officer of the investment bank in March last year.

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