Barclays Wealth has hired Vikram Malhotra, Jagdish Kale and Rohit Nanani for its Singapore office. All three join from UBS and will become part of Srinivas Siripurapu's team. Siripurapu heads Southeast Asia and South Asia and is also market manager for the British bank for the South Asian community.

Barclays poached Siripurapu from UBS in August last year and he joined the firm in November. Siripurapu brought with him nine bankers from UBS when he left last year and, together with the three he has now poached, UBS has lost at least a dozen senior bankers to Barclays Wealth since his departure.

But Barclays Wealth itself hasn't escaped the hiring frenzy in the private banking industry in Asia. It recently lost Sandeep Sharma who was a team head for South Asia at the British firm since 2007 when Barclays Wealth poached him from Societe Generale private banking. Sharma had been head of private banking for India at SG since 2005.

There are unconfirmed rumours that Sharma, who is currently on gardening leave, will join HSBC private banking in Singapore as a managing director. HSBC declined any comment on the matter.

It would seem that Malhotra has been hired to replace Sharma -- Malhotra joined Barclays Wealth yesterday as head of South Asia. He was promoted to country team head for India International Asia at UBS to replace Siripurapu last year, having previously been Siripurapu's deputy. Malhotra brings more than 15 years of experience to his new job. He joined UBS in 2006 from ABN AMRO and has also worked with Standard Chartered.

UBS has filled Malhotra's position by poaching Vinay Gandhi from J.P. Morgan private bank. The hire came as a surprise because Gandhi, who started at UBS in January this year, had only just joined J.P. Morgan in November last year from Deutsche's private wealth management team. Gandhi's move was also a surprise because it seemed he did not have to serve a gardening leave period after he left J.P. Morgan. Malhotra joins Barclays Wealth after a three-month gardening leave period, as did Siripurapu and the rest of his team.

Kale and Nanani have also joined Barclays Wealth to serve the South Asian high-net-worth community. Both join as directors, effective February 10, and will be based in Singapore.

The movement of senior private bankers across firms is not unexpected given that private banking in Asia is on a high-growth trajectory, and neither is the fact that Siripurapu would turn to his earlier employer to fill the ranks at his new firm. Experienced bankers are in short supply and firms such as Barclays Wealth, which are seeking to build their business in the region, naturally search for talent by turning to UBS and others that have been operating in Asia for some time. And senior bankers will also, naturally, turn to their earlier teams.

Barclays Wealth last year poached Joanna Chu from Hang Seng Bank to co-head North Asia for its private banking business. Chu joined together with other senior bankers from Hang Seng Bank.