The once staid arena of dapper Swiss and well-groomed Luxembourgois, is now host to all the biggest banks in the world. Attracted by the low costs and high revenues, the competition is fierce, and nowhere more so than in Singapore - the private banking hub of Asia.

CSPB has taken off its metaphorical gloves and announced that it has poached eight private bankers from JPMorgan Private Bank. Of these eight, three are senior relationship managers, two are relationship managers and another three are assistant relationship managers.

Yet none of the bankers have been named, and sources at JPMorgan say that the number that are going is much less than eight. Whatever the final tally, it is still a sign of the increasingly bruising competition for talent and client lists that is endemic in the Asian private banking world.

It is also a sign that Singapore is emerging as the second biggest private banking market in the world after Switzerland. CSPB claims that its assets under management in Singapore have doubled over the past two years, with some of that money coming from European clients eager to diversify away from their home turf. With measures such as the introduction of Singapore Trusts - widely believed to be the best investment structures in the world at present - Singapore is stealing a march on all other offshore centres. It looks like the banks are well aware of this and feverishly hiring the bankers needed to take advantage of this boom. Ding dong, seconds away, round two!