Tan Su Shan felt her first pangs of labor while trading yen for a wealth-management client.
What to do? She took her laptop and mobile phone to a Singapore delivery room and set up a foreign-exchange operation lying flat on her back as doctors administered nitrous oxide to ease the pain of giving birth.
“I was taking gas, calling the client and trying to go, ‘Haaaaah,’” recalled Tan, 45, who was working for Morgan Stanley at the time and now heads private and consumer banking at DBS Group Holdings Ltd. “I don’t know whether it was the baby or the exchange rate” causing the heavy breathing.
Women like Tan are one reason why female private bankers outnumber men in Asia 3-to-2 when it comes to managing the money of the wealthy, according to executive-recruiting firm Korn Ferry International. By contrast, the female-to-male manager ratio in the U.S. is 1-to-4. In Switzerland, the world’s largest wealth-management center, it’s 1-to-9.