OCBC has joined HSBC and Standard Chartered in pointing out the importance of its wealth management business in Asia, albeit with no fanfare around hiring numbers.
OCBC’s first half results show that wealth is even more core to its success than it is to its two UK-headquartered rivals. In H1, wealth management income accounted for a substantial 39% of total revenue.
Wealth management income – which comes from insurance, premier and private banking, asset management and stockbroking – rose 25% to S$2.14bn, from S$1.71bn a year ago.
Assets under management at OCBC’s private banking subsidiary, Bank of Singapore (BoS), grew 11% year-on-year to US$125bn (S$169bn) as at end-June, “driven by continued inflow of net new money and positive market valuations”.
OCBC did not reveal how many relationship managers BoS employs, but we understand that it has not boosted its headcount by much over the past 12 months. In the 2020 calendar year, BoS’s RM headcount stayed flat at 400, according to Asian Private Banker. This indicates that average assets under manager per RM are rising, which bodes well for 2021 bonuses.
Across OCBC, headcount fell by just 36 people to 30,619 year-on-year, a sign of conservative hiring during the pandemic.
However, there was some good news on the pay front. Staff costs per head at the Singaporean bank for H1 – total employee expenditure (such as salaries and bonuses) divided by total headcount – went up by 6% to S$48,532 year-on-year, according to data calculated from OCBC’s financial results.
As salaries increase for new joiners amid a revival in recruitment in Singapore, banks need to ensure their internal pay rates remain competitive.
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