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Saturday, 13th April 2024
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Environment is good for wealth managers Back  
Good wealth managers will always be in demand and prospects in the private banking market are good for the right people, but Mia Barry writes that those interested in the sector must be willing to prove themselves in what is becoming an increasingly competitive environment.
22004 was a positive year and we are expecting another year of growth in the private banking market. The private client business is growing and most companies have seen an increase in this part of the business over the last year. This is mainly due to two key factors: the continuing strong economy and the growth of wealth from the booming property market.

This has led to a healthy level of competition for business and banks, stock brokers and other wealth management services and they have had to offer bigger and better services to retain existing customers and attract new ones. Not only do companies need to diversify by offering comprehensive services like tax, stocks, bonds, funds and pensions to their customers, but they also need to over achieve on customer service. The level of education and information on products available has also resulted in the customer becoming more sophisticated. Compliance is also a key issue with customers looking for well regulated compliant businesses that place customers’ interests first.

We expect to see an increase of companies offering services in the Dublin market in 2005, which will result in further job opportunities and promote a buoyant market.

2004 was an active year in recruitment in the private clients/high net worth (HNW) area. Robert Walters receive business from all the major banks and stockbrokers due to active recruitment. The activity was not always due to company growth, but due to people being upbeat about the market and its potential for career advancement. Due to the volatility of the market in 2003, companies have been very selective on who they hire. Although most clients tend to ‘belong’ to the company rather than the individual, personal relationships are key and therefore it is imperative that companies look for the right kind of individual to benefit the clients and company as a whole. Companies tend to look for individuals with the following skills:
- Team player – strong teams help each other, learn from each other and create unity.
- Sales skills – enjoy winning new business, see opportunities and act upon them.
- Big personality – ‘it is all about people’, client rapport, relationship building, client chemistry.
- Proven track record – at senior level.
- Ownership – enjoy taking responsibility for actions and giving a top quality service.

The private banking market is very competitive so if given the opportunity employees are expected to work hard to prove themselves and demonstrate loyalty to the business. Most companies expect employees to work for at least three years without any significant increase in pay, but once employees have proven themselves and learned the basics, career progression can be fairly swift.

If you are considering a career in this area you need to be vigilant as the competition is fierce. Most people enter into the area via the back office, client services for example, and work their way up. Graduate programmes offer great opportunities to work in different areas within the business so you can make an informed choice of where you are best suited after about a year in the business. An honours degree is an advantage but not always necessary as the skills listed above are the main points an employer is looking for.
Most companies will require some form of previous banking experience and enthusiasm for the business.

A few years ago people changed jobs mostly to get a pay rise. As the market has now slowed down to a more realistic pace this is no longer the main driving force. Most people change jobs now due to lack of career advancement, lack of training/guidance and/or lack of a driving and dynamic management.

People are still keen to be associated with strong company names, especially in the private banking business, but a modern, open and focused environment is on top of people’s lists. People don’t tend to gain huge amounts in salary when changing jobs. Mostly around €2,000 - €5,000 at the junior end and €5,000 to €10,000 at the senior end. The days of doubling your salary are gone. Many companies are growing organically (hiring at entry level and training and promoting from within) as this breeds a positive and ambitious environment. Salaries vary depending on bonus structure but a broad overview of expected salaries based on the stock broking sector in today’s market are shown in the table below.

In this sector, especially in a tight knit market such as Dublin, people that are recognised or well known in the business operationally and client side will always be in demand, despite fluctuations in the market.

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