American investment bank Morgan Stanley is planning to hire 30 to 35 private bankers this year for its businesses in Hong Kong and Singapore.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Asia-Pacific wealth head Vincent Chui said:  “Our continued expansion and growth will be actually a matter for us to accelerate in 2020.”

According to Chui, the new relationship managers “would perhaps translate into at least 50 or 60 more customer service, risk and product specialists.”

Chui noted that wealth creation continues “very, very strongly” mainly in second-tier Chinese cities and other Asian regions.

When asked about takeovers, Chui said the firm will assess various opportunities.

“We want to expand this business at our own pace,” he said.

Regarding Hong Kong protests, Chui noted that the bank has not been affected.

However, he said that clients now have more queries on how and where to structure their wealth, be it Hong Kong, Singapore, the US or Europe.

“I think in the ultra high net worth segment, there are plenty of choices,” Chui stated.

In Q4 2019, Morgan Stanley reported net revenues of $10.86bn. This is a 27% surge from $8.55bn a year ago.

Notably, last month, Bloomberg reported that Morgan Stanley will lay off around 1,500 employees, representing nearly 2% of its total workforce.

The move is said to mainly affect the bank’s technology and operations divisions.