Falcon to hire private bankers to meet target for client assets

Bank to hire as many as 15 relationship managers by the end of 2011
Falcon to hire private bankers to meet target for client assets
State owned Aabar purchased Falcon from American International Group Inc in December 2008
By Bloomberg
Sat 27 Nov 2010 01:55 PM

Falcon Private Bank, owned by Abu Dhabi’s Aabar Investments, plans to hire as many as 15 relationship managers by the end of 2011 as it bids to almost double assets under management over the next five years.

Falcon, which managed $12 billion at the end of September, focuses on wealthy clients in Russia, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America, Chief Executive Officer Eduardo Leemann said in an interview at the bank’s Zurich headquarters.

Competition to recruit private bankers to boost fund inflows is squeezing the profit margins of Swiss wealth managers. Swiss private banks may find their expansion plans hindered by a shortage of relationship managers with the ability to attract new assets, KPMG said in a survey earlier this month.

Leemann said: “The war for talent is hotting up,” especially in Asia. A private banker who gets 30 percent of his clients’ assets to follow him “would be a huge success, and 10 percent is the break-even scenario,” he said.

Falcon has increased the assets it manages for private clients by 42 percent to $5.1 billion this year and expects to reach $8 billion within two years.

Leemann said: “We’re focused on increasing our wallet of wealthy families,” referring to the share of a client’s wealth managed by a bank. He said, our target is “ambitious but there’s growth in the east and we have a much better chance than a bank with most of its clients in Europe.”

State owned Aabar purchased Falcon from American International Group Inc in December 2008 after the insurer was forced to sell assets to repay a U.S. government loan that saved it from bankruptcy.

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