Staff migration challenges as OCBC acquires Barclays business

HRD spoke with the Bank of Singapore CEO about the S$431 million acquisition and the future of the incoming workforce

OCBC Bank will acquire Barclays’ wealth and investment management business in Singapore and Hong Kong in a deal worth US$320 million (S$431 million). It will involve the movement of an as yet unknown number of staff and 1,800 more clients to the Bank of Singapore – which is presently owned by OCBC.
The transaction itself will be completed over the next few months, Bahren Shaari, CEO of Bank of Singapore, told HRD, adding that the final number of incoming staff will be determined during the migration period.
“We will ensure that the integration is smooth and that we support the continued career development of our new colleagues who join us,” he said.
“This is in line with our core values as an organisation: We respect and care for one another as we work as one team, and we are more than willing to invest in our employees who aspire to achieve their career goals.”
Shaari believes this will ensure OCBC can attract and retain staff throughout the migration.
“Employees stay with an organisation when they believe in its growth story, its management and leadership style, and the development programs it offers.”
During the auction process, OCBC’s rival, DBS Bank, failed to bid aggressively amidst rumours that a number of Barclays bankers were seeking other employment, sources close to the auction process told Reuters.
The likely candidate for talent poaching is Standard Chartered with another source telling Reuters of the bank’s recent hiring spree in the private banking sector. In December 2015, the firm managed to snap up Didier von Daeniken, Barclays Asian wealth chief.
OCBC will have to work hard to mitigate these risks by providing an attractive package for incoming staff once the migration commences.
This deal is the latest for Barclays as the bank seeks to get rid of its non-core businesses worldwide. So far, it has exited operations in Africa and closed offices in South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, Australia, Russia and Brazil.

Related stories:
When two become one: HR tips for the acquisition target
Three HR considerations when acquiring a business
Downsizing with dignity

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