The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

Singaporean private banking: Formula for excess

Singapore’s free-wheeling private bankers enjoyed the ride of their lives in the pre-crisis years, but with government intervention and a clutch of lawsuits looming, it looks as though many are finally running out of road. Eric Ellis reports.

DESPITE ITS GLITZY new image as the latest hotspot to host a night-time Formula One race around glamorous casinos, Singapore – the tropical island republic dubbed southeast Asia’s Monaco by private bankers – hides a post-global financial crisis secret. It’s a touchy subject at private banking heavyweight UBS, which at the market’s pre-meltdown peak ran 1,000 client relationship managers hawking all manner of exotic investments to regional tycoons in a heady atmosphere one former operative described as a "zoo" and a "boiler room". Perhaps that’s because UBS is still smarting from the loss of its ‘$30 billion man’, the former head of wealth management Tee Fong Seng, who walked – with some clients and team members – in June to Credit Suisse to join his former UBS Singapore colleague Marcel Kreis. Or maybe UBS is still embarrassed by the industry sniggers at its flamboyant executive director James Tulley, known to friends as ‘Tulley Tubby’, whose photo spread in Singapore Tatler last March boasting about his sartorial self-regard – his 30 pairs of spectacles and 100 pairs of shoes, including a $4,000 pair from Louis Vuitton – came to symbolize the excesses of the suddenly sexy private banking sector.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree