Following its recent snaring of Tan Su Shan from Morgan Stanley, Singapore's DBS Private Bank has made two more big hires and six other appointments. These signal a shift in client advisory strategy and the growth of the firm's non-resident Indian (NRI) and Middle Eastern client businesses.
Lim Say Boon will join in October as chief investment officer (CIO) for the wealth-management business. He will spearhead the development of a global asset-allocation strategy with a strong Asia focus for DBS's clients.
The firm did have a chief strategist in the past, but Lim's role is an expanded one, as it covers both the private-banking and Treasures priority-banking businesses.
Lim moves to the newly created role from Standard Chartered in Singapore, where he was chief investment strategist for the bank's wealth-management and private-banking groups, and co-head of the chief investment and advisory office. He will report to Tan, head of private banking, and Rajan Raju, head of consumer banking.
DBS Private Bank will be adding other investment staff, but could not provide details of headcount at this state.
Lim's last day at Standard Chartered was August 6. The UK bank made the following statement: "During his four years with the bank, Say Boon has done an excellent job in leading the client research team in the consumer bank. We would like to thank Say Boon for his contribution and to wish him well in his future endeavours."
In the interim, Michael Preiss will look after Lim's chief investment strategist duties in addition to his current role as senior equities strategist. Michael brings with him more than 15 years of equities research and investment advisory experience.
Lim's departure follows that of Peter Flavel, global head of the Standard Chartered Private Bank, who moved to JP Morgan Private Bank last month.
At DBS, Lim will form and work with a senior investment committee to set up a multi-asset-class, strategic asset-allocation framework for clients that is risk-adjusted to suit different risk profiles. This framework will set the stage for relationship managers and investment counsellors to advise on advisory, tactical positions or core, discretionary portfolios, says the bank.
"Most global banks offer a global asset-allocation strategy for their clients, whether they are in the US, Europe or Asia," says the highly regarded Tan. "DBS's investment strategy will be unique in that it will be formulated to fit in and resonate with our clients' strong Asian focus."
Since joining DBS as head of private banking in June, Tan has been focused on building the private-banking team and enhancing the business's technological platform. The creation of a CIO office represents another key priority for DBS.
In a career spanning 28 years, Lim has held various senior positions in investment research and private banking/wealth management.
Before joining Standard Chartered, he had held positions including director of portfolio counselling at Citigroup Private Bank, head of investment research for OCBC Securities, regional research manager with Société Générale-Crosby Securities, director of research at Standard Chartered Indonesia and research manager at Standard Chartered Securities Singapore. He also worked in financial journalism in Australia in the 1990s.
Another high-profile hire, Olivier Crespin, joined DBS Private Banking on July 1 as chief operating officer to look after the bank's technology and systems integration. Prior to DBS, he spent 16 years at Citi in Asia, North and South America, most recently as global head of operations at Citi Private Bank in New York.
DBS Private Banking has also strengthened its NRI business, as well as its teams for Singapore and the region. Hemal Khanna and Gayatri Ahuja have joined as team leads for the NRI segment. Khanna was previously a senior director at ABN Amro in Singapore, and Ahuja came from DBS Treasures.
Other recent appointments include Samer Taki as head of the Middle East team, Frances Boon to run one of the Singapore teams, Geraldine Low as a senior private banker and Wee Yan Hann as senior regional product manager.
These are also newly created roles. The NRI and Middle East businesses are new businesses the firm wants to expand, and it is also building bench strength in the Singapore team.