Business

Banks seek diverse talent in advisers

Advisers in the lucrative private wealth sector often used to be star finance graduates who worked their way up to top jobs.

But the industry is changing, with professionals from a wide range of disciplines now being recruited.

United States investment bank Morgan Stanley is one firm that casts its net far wider now.

Mr Ronald Ong, Morgan Stanley chairman and chief executive for South-east Asia, said: "To be a successful private wealth banker, I truly believe you need to be a trusted adviser, more than just a salesman.

"When we look at talent, we should be broad-minded enough to look at talent not only from the existing pool of private wealth bankers.

"You could turn a good corporate lawyer, who has the relation and the trust of the individual, into a private banker."

About 10 per cent of the more than 100 investment relationship officers in the region at Morgan Stanley's Private Wealth Management Asia unit come from non-traditional educational backgrounds, either within the bank or from outside.

One way it differentiates itself is to offer services beyond the usual personal wealth offerings, such as helping clients' business needs, he said.

Said Mr Ong: "We've institutionalised our private wealth business, as opposed to just managing money.

"A lot of the private wealth clients own businesses in this part of the world. If you help them grow their companies, it's tantamount to growing their private wealth as well.

"This has brought about an ability to bring our institutional securities business to private wealth clients."

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