Credit Suisse Private Banking (CSPB) in Singapore has hired nine bankers from Citibank Private Bank and Merrill Lynch as it predicts another year of strong growth. The appointments are part of CSPB's aggressive expansion drive in Asia that has seen the Singapore branch more than double its assets under management and almost double total staff over the past two years.

Eight of the new bankers are from Citibank and have 83 years combined banking and private banking experience. Five of them have joined CSPB Singapore as senior relationship managers, while one is an investment consultant. A second investment consultant has been hired from Merrill Lynch.

Pierre-F. Baer, Credit Suisse Private Banking's branch manager in Singapore says the latest appointments form part of the branch's strategy to further increase market share in Asia.

The branch's impending receipt of a wholesale banking license from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) means CSPB Singapore will soon be able to take interest bearing deposits of more than S$250,000 and offer the full range of products and services to Singapore residents.

"Credit Suisse Private Banking has operated from Singapore for more than 30 years," Baer notes. "Our business expansion is based on providing the highest standards of independent wealth management advice to our clients."

The latest hires come on top of increased efforts by the bank to build its private banking presence in 2001. CSPB Singapore hired six bankers from JPMorgan in the middle of last year and with the latest recruits has almost 90 relationship managers supported by more than 40 product specialists divided into six teams.

The bank also launched the first global private banking centre in Singapore last month - giving global clients multi-channel access to a comprehensive range of online and offline financial services and lifestyle products 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.