Jobs 101: Senior relationship banker

We have all heard of bankers, but what exactly do they do?

Joshua Tan Sheng Yao

Published: 16 June 2015, 12:00 AM

Bankers are known for bringing in the big bucks, but at the same time, most of us cannot seem to quite grasp what they really do.

To find out more, we had a quick chat with Sandra Ong, a senior relationship banker who deals with high net worth clients.

Who: Sandra Ong, 30

Occupation: Senior relationship banker at OCBC premium banking

Studied: Business management in Singapore Institute of Management (SIM)


Sandra needs to look presentable when meeting clients


Tell us more about yourself.

I studied at SIM and graduated with a degree in business management. I have been working for almost eight years. I really enjoy shopping during my free time.

How did you enter the banking industry?

I was interested in sales and I felt that the banking industry was more prestigious. OCBC accepts fresh graduates and an opportunity presented itself when I graduated, so I went ahead with what I had at that moment.

How is your role different from other banking jobs?

At higher levels, there will generally be two channels: the management and sales roles. I’m handling mostly investment sales, while the management roles include branch managers, centre managers and those working in the headquarters.

Describe a typical day at work.

My general working hours are 9.30am to 6pm, but there are times when I have to meet up with clients beyond my normal working hours. I usually meet clients to review their investment portfolios and look at how to rebalance their portfolio and financial needs.


Sandra at the OCBC achiever’s night 2015 event
Photo credits: Sandra Ong


What is your biggest challenge on the job?

To always hit new heights for myself because of the commission based targets. However, we are supposed to be customer needs-driven, rather than incentive-driven.

How has the industry changed over the past few years?

It was not as stringent previously and we could sell the products as and how we liked. Now, there are more regulations and restrictions, and we have to understand more about our customers’ needs. Before we recommend a new product, we have to understand the background and financial situation of our clients.

What advice do you have for youths who plan to enter this industry?

In the beginning, it will be tough because you have to build your customer base.  It can get quite stressful, so make sure you are driven enough to hit your targets.


Educational requirements: Diploma in business studies with at least three years of experience, or a business degree.

Qualities required: Interpersonal skills to interact with people, and be pleasant looking.

Working hours: Generally 9am to 6pm on weekdays, but hours get irregular as you work around your customer’s schedule.

Salary range: Starts at about $3,000 a month.

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