Credit Suisse grooms high-flyers
The perception lingers that private banks have one preferred method for filling key vacancies: poach good staff from a competitor. However, as the sector expands, with Asia's burgeoning wealth creating a new generation of high-net-worth investors, reliance on a limited pool of talent imposes unneeded restrictions.
To pre-empt problems and maintain the standards expected, certain banks are now putting considerable time and investment into in-house programmes that train young recruits and pave the way to long-term success in the industry.
"The surge in private wealth and strong economic fundamentals in the region mean that the demand for wealth management services will only increase," says Francesco de Ferrari, head of private banking, Asia Pacific, for Credit Suisse. "By having transparent career paths and performance compensation criteria, we are better positioned to retain talent, leverage their strengths, and drive the necessary changes."
As part of its "grow our own" initiative, the bank has prioritised the need for an internal pipeline of talent, bringing young bankers up through the system. The focus is on developing all-round skills, providing relevant exposure, and offering structured career progression towards management and leadership positions.
Two new programmes have been introduced this year. One will groom MBA graduates from internationally respected universities to become relationship managers. The initial group of eight will start in July and follow a clear series of courses and development milestones.
During the first six months, they will have on-boarding sessions, a "boot camp" in Zurich to learn about the wider organisation, and detailed instruction covering technical skills, financial products, sales know-how, and client management. Certification as an associate relationship manager should lead, after another year, to vice-president status.
"[We want to] accelerate the time to productivity," de Ferrari says. "The recruits will acquire technical knowledge of private banking tools, solutions, prospecting, and cross-border management, as well as the processes needed for day-to-day operating of client accounts."
The second programme is for trainee analysts who can be either first degree holders or MBAs. Four such recruits are expected to join in July - three in Singapore, one in Hong Kong. Following the familiarisation period, their one-year training will have a clear "on-the-job" focus, giving a comprehensive view of the bank's integrated structure and services.
The intended career path leads, within three years, to junior relationship manager roles from where opportunities can multiply.
"Our aim is to establish a talent acquisition and development model that will result in a sustainable competitive advantage," de Ferrari says. "This is a key strategic thrust to build the right skills and institutional commitment."