Curdin Duschletta of UBS discusses the problems associated with the lack of experienced and trained talent in Asian wealth management, and explains what the industry needs to do to plug this gap.
Date: May 2010
For example, research by UBS in 2009 showed a shortage in Hong Kong and Singapore of roughly 900 experienced private bankers to capture the potential for wealth creation in the region.
The industry, therefore, cannot continue to let experienced bankers move from one firm to another – instead it needs to fill the talent gap, said Duschletta.
Addressing the shortfall
The industry needs to do this in a two-fold way, he said.
First, it needs to enhance the capabilities of existing private bankers.
The requirements in the industry have grown, he explained, with individuals now needing in-depth product knowledge, a fundamental understanding of the financial markets and economies, and the ability to build relationships and understand client needs in a way which maps them to appropriate solutions.
Secondly, Duschletta said the industry needs to create a pipeline of private bankers of tomorrow.
One of the ways of doing this is through initiatives like the UBS Wealth Management Associate Program, he said, where people who already have some financial industry background are groomed as private bankers. Or it can be done through graduate trainee programmes, or schemes which encourage people to move from the back and middle offices to the frontline.
The need to invest for the future
Duschletta said that while players in the wealth management industry agree that in the medium to long term there is no other option than to fill the talent gap and build the next generation of private bankers, organisations can in the short term still work around this problem by poaching experienced advisers from rival institutions.
They therefore get away with not putting in the proper time and resources to for training.
At UBS, he said the decision was taken a long time ago to build the pipeline because the bank sees value in growing its business and capturing possibilities and opportunities by having the right people.
Investing in the workforce is a long-term investment, said Duschletta, which at the end of the day drives the capability to be in the wealth management business for the long term. It also encourages loyalty, he added.
According to Duschletta, if an institution gets the hiring, grooming, training and development piece right, then it almost by default becomes a hunting ground for other firms looking for talent.
The positive aspect of that is it proves the firm is doing something right – but it is the reality of creating a strong brand that these people will be attractive to the market.
Yet at the same time, said Duschletta, it enables the institution to attract new people who want to be a part of it.
Plus, he added, continuous training means it is a long-term investment for individuals, so they will hopefully think twice about leaving that opportunity behind.