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December 12, 2008

French bank plans Singapore hiring spree
French bank BNP Paribas said on Thursday its wealth management arm plans to go on a hiring spree in Singapore that will raise its headcount to 500 by the end of next year, from 300 now, reported Reuters.

The jobs boost from BNP is a rare positive in an industry suffering massive cuts. More than 150,000 financial sector jobs worldwide have been culled since September when Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy.

Singapore job cuts include government-linked DBS Group and Deutsche Bank , which shed staff from its asset management arm earlier this week.

"We are a huge player in the wealth management business, and we want to be the largest, the most profitable and the most attractive for our clients and their assets," said Serge Forti, BNP's recently appointed chief executive for Asia Pacific wealth management.

A BNP Paribas spokeswoman said about half the staff increase will involve additions to its information technology (IT) development team.

"For our IT, we are looking at about 100 (new hires) by the first quarter of next year," she said.

Local media reported that BNP Paribas Wealth Management plans to hire about 30 relationship managers before 2010 and absorb staff from Fortis.

The French bank is in the process of acquiring the Belgian and Luxembourg-owned portions of Fortis, which was bailed out by the two countries' governments and the Netherlands earlier this year

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