A native Singaporean, Lee left J.P. Morgan in early April and it was rumoured at the time that he was going to Deutsche, although it was unclear exactly what role he would take on.
According to an announcement yesterday, he will replace the current chief country officer for Singapore, Ronny Tan, who will step down after 12 years in that job. During that time, he has played an important role in the development of the bank’s Singapore franchise, it said. Tan will remain with the bank as vice-chairman for Singapore.
Lee’s other job, as vice-chairman for Southeast Asia, will see him work across all of Deutsche Bank’s business divisions, including investment banking, markets, asset management and private banking, to develop its client activities in Southeast Asia.
This is a significantly wider role than the one he had at J.P. Morgan where he was head of investment banking for Southeast Asia, as well as senior country officer for Singapore. During his 18 years with J.P. Morgan he essentially became the face of the US bank in Southeast Asia, which is no doubt one key reason why Deutsche has sought him out.
“Philip is one of the most senior, accomplished and well known bankers both in Singapore and across the region. He brings great depth of experience to this important role where he will focus on the development of our client franchise in Singapore and Southeast Asia, an area which has significant importance and potential for the bank,” said Gunit Chadha, co-chief executive officer for Asia-Pacific.
Lee will start his new job on July 8 and will report directly to Chadha and his fellow co-CEO, Alan Cloete.
The hiring shows that European banks are still able to compete with the US banks for top talent, despite new compensation rules (known as CRD IV) that put an effective cap on bonuses in relation to salaries. The rules, which were announced in March, state that the variable component of the total remuneration for “material risk takers” shall not exceed 100% of the fixed component, in other words the bonus can only be as large as the base salary. Under certain conditions, shareholders can increase the variable component to 200%.
There has been some concern that this would put US banks at an advantage since there is no such rule in the US. But the hire of Lee — from a US bank — suggests that Deutsche was able to make an offer that was attractive enough.
In early April, the bank also hired Sung Eun Ahn from Bank of America Merrill Lynch for a dual role as chief country officer in Korea and CEO of Deutsche Securities Korea. Ahn will start on July 1 and will replace Soo-Ryong Kim who is retiring from the bank.
Ahn had been CEO and head of investment banking for Korea at BoA Merrill since April 2004. But he also has a background with Deutsche Bank, having worked with the German bank from 2002 to 2004.
“Quality talent will continue to be attracted to quality organisations and will command appropriate and competitive terms,” said Chadha.
According to Robert Grandy, a headhunter with Korn/Ferry International, European banks are figuring out various ways to attract candidates in light of the new regulations. Aside from the traditional base salary plus bonus, this may also include non-compensation-related incentives such as larger responsibilities, or making the new hire responsible for an area where the bank is stronger than other banks.
It has also become more common for banks to offer softer guarantees, which means the bank sets a target bonus that it hopes to pay the candidate, but which is not guaranteed and not legally binding, he said.
“So far, we have not seen any major hiring issues for the European banks,” he said.
Lee joined J.P. Morgan in 1995 and was appointed head of investment banking for Southeast Asia in 2001. He has worked in the industry for almost 25 years, during which he has accumulated an impressive list of clients in Southeast Asia. Before he joined J.P. Morgan, he was head of investment banking in Malaysia at Credit Suisse First Boston and he has previously also worked with Citi and done stints in Hong Kong and New York.