(Bloomberg) -- Union Bancaire Privée SA has hired a group of about 15 private bankers from BNP Paribas SA as it steps up expansion in Asia, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Some of the bankers will report to Alfred Tsai, who was BNP’s Hong Kong-based head of China wealth management before he joined UBP, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the details aren’t public. Elina So, a managing director in Tsai’s group at BNP, has also moved to UBP, the person said.

Private banks have been offering big pay packages and poaching entire teams as they vie for position in Asia, which is minting new millionaires faster than any other region. UBP in April hired a team of six from Standard Chartered Plc in Singapore, accelerating a push that started with the 2015 acquisition of Coutts International.

Most of the former BNP bankers are based in Hong Kong, with the remainder in Singapore, according to the person. UBP had 70 wealth relationship managers in the Asia-Pacific region at the end of 2017, according to Asian Private Banker.

“While we do not comment on staff movement, we would like to reiterate our commitment to our wealth management business in China and Asia broadly, where we continue to grow both in terms of our overall business and teams across the region,” BNP Paribas said in an e-mailed response to questions, without providing specifics. UBP declined to comment.

Tsai’s appointment was announced in a UBP internal memo dated Tuesday that was seen by Bloomberg News. The memo described North Asia as a “vital growth market” for UBP. Tsai will be the firm’s vice chair for Asia and report to Eric Morin, head of North Asia, and Michael Blake, chief executive officer for Asia, according to the memo.

To contact the reporter on this story: Chanyaporn Chanjaroen in Singapore at cchanjaroen@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Marcus Wright at mwright115@bloomberg.net, Philip Lagerkranser

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

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