Private Banking Careers

There are many career paths one can take within a private bank. There are a wide range of positions and expertise globally that form the typical ‘skeleton’ of a private banking office. In addition, there are also other positions in the back and middle office such as accounts, financial control and reporting, trade execution and risk management, which are common across all banking divisions, all around the world.

Bank Relationship Manager (Private Banker)

The Relationship Manager (RM) is the interface between the bank and the bank’s clients. It is a front office position and client-facing, so people and communication skills are essential. The RM is also responsible for acquiring new clients using their network. As the main money makers, they will have targets for ROA (Return on Assets), NNM (Net New Money) and NTB (New to Bank clients). It can be a high pressure role.

There two types of Relationship Manager:

Hunter – Main responsibility is to acquire new clients and assets. Heavy emphasis on business development

Farmer – Main responsibility is to develop existing clients. Heavy emphasis on relationship management

They can also overlap and often do, depending on the bank.

Requirements – In addition to higher education and wealth management accreditations, prior experience is usually necessary and an existing portfolio of strong relationships is highly desirable. Candidates that can demonstrate a proven track record of revenue generation and have been able to consistently hit targets are always in high demand.

Assistant Relationship Manager

Also called Private Banking Assistants and Private Banking Executives, the Assistant Relationship Manager (ARM) helps the RM with administrative and compliance tasks as well as client service duties that the RM might be too busy to do.

Main duties: Tasks include handling client enquiries, assisting in order execution, monitoring trade bookings and updating clients on their investment portfolios regularly.

Requirements – Many private banks have a graduate or trainee scheme for people interested in private banking and this usually starts with an ARM role. Experience is not always required, although some banks may need people with language skills to deal with a certain international market.

Investment Advisor

The Investment Advisor (IA) sometimes referred to as an ‘Investment Counsellor,’ works alongside the RM. Their main duties are to provide advice on asset allocation regarding the bank’s products and investments. Most of the time, it is also a client facing role and the IA will regularly meet clients along with the RM. As it is not a revenue generation role, IAs don’t have the same targets as the RMs, but may still have yearly and monthly objectives in place, depending on the bank.

Main Duties – Advising clients on investments in key asset classes such as equities, fixed income, bonds, commodities, credit and structured products and notes. Analysing level of risk and making recommendations on asset allocation accordingly. It is vital that they keep up to date with global markets.

Requirements – IAs usually have prior experience working in asset allocation or investment management, either as an IA, Product Manager or Portfolio Manager. Higher education is necessary as well as certain diplomas, such as from the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (CISI). At the least, junior IAs will need relevant education and strong knowledge about various investments in equities, fixed income and commodities.

Portfolio Manager

The role of a Portfolio Manager (PM) can vary with the bank. Some are very similar to IAs and work on developing portfolios for clients and advising on asset allocation. Others are directly responsible for managing the bank’s proprietary funds. They are making direct investments in asset classes such as equities, fixed income and commodities based on their own understanding of the markets. They also utilise different strategies such as fundamental and quantitative analysis and systematic trading.

They usually work with analysts who assist them in fundamental research and/or developing quantitative models. Based on the performance of their fund, a client may decide whether or not to allocate capital.

Main Duties – Managing fund performance, re-balancing portfolio allocation as necessary. They also work closely with analysts, keeping up to date with global markets, tactical risk management.

Requirements – PMs usually need a prior track record of profitable returns before an institution will let them manage money. However, this is not always the case. The career path to a PM begins as an analyst or trader. An analyst who has demonstrated a consistently strong win rate on their recommendations can be promoted to PM. PMs are generally specialists in certain strategies, such as equity long/short, global macro, special situations or event-driven arbitrage.

Product Manager

A Product Manager focuses on the development and launching of new banking products that the institution can sell to their clients. This usually encompasses cross asset solutions, for example in equities, treasury products, structured products, loan and credit products, hybrids and insurance.

Main Duties – Responsibility for full product development cycle including idea generation, development, pricing and rollout. They also work with relationship management and advisory teams to understand client’s needs and market trends for new products. Overseeing Profit and Loss (PnL) for launched products.

Requirements – Higher education and investment qualifications or diplomas are required and any prior experience is welcomed. There can be a lot of room for growth within this career path. Product Analysts can quickly move to Manager level and those at the top lead teams covering product management for whole countries and continents.

Compliance Officer

The role of the Compliance Officer is to screen new clients for suitability before they open an account with the bank. They ensure that the potential client is not hiding assets from the authorities and that the money was not obtained illegally. There has been a marked increase in spending on compliance in recent years especially with more global regulations (for example, FATCA and FINMA).

Main Duties – On-boarding NTB (New To Bank) clients, conducting due diligence checks in accordance with KYC (Know Your Client) and AML (Anti-Money Laundering) practices. They will also periodically review accounts and transactions and monitor any suspicious activity.

Requirements – Some banks provide training and examinations for entry level compliance analysts. A keen interest in this field is usually a starting point and some candidates might have a legal background beforehand. Entry level compliance analysts can take courses in compliance knowledge and examination within the bank itself.

These are the most common open positions in a private bank. Of course, depending on the size of the bank, there can be many or few of these roles available. Some banks merge IA and PM roles together.

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