Global bank UBS recently opened a Wealth Management Campus for its Asia-Pacific staff to meet training demands for the next decade. The move is in response to a growing need to find and retain qualified staff for its Asian wealth management business, which is expected to continue developing as more people become knowledgeable about, and take advantage of, wealth management. The Wealth Management Campus will provide expert advice from informed UBS staff and outside trainers. The campus is in the historic Command House in Singapore on 500,000 square feet of land, making it one of the largest properties in the Lion City. The colonial-style building, constructed in the 1920s and 1930, has been refitted with all the latest technology and amenities, making it a cutting-edge facility capable of meeting trainees' needs. Command House, which comprises five buildings, was converted from private use to commercial use and loaned to UBS by the Singapore government. The bank has been entrusted to keep this historic site as pristine as possible in order to preserve its historic significance. Previously, the building was used for military functions for people such as Lieutenant General Arthur Ernest Percival, the commander of the British Commonwealth forces during the battle of Singapore, and Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India. The building also served as a residence for statesmen such as former Speaker of Parliament Yeoh Ghim Seng and former president Ong Teng Cheong. UBS gained the use of the facility in September, 2006 when renovation on the interior began. According to Patricia Enslow, UBS head of market strategy and development, wealth management Asia-Pacific, the bank decided in late 2005 to develop a training facility to meet the needs of staff, new recruits and even clients, in order to provide the best possible wealth management services. 'We looked at the growth of wealth management in APAC [Asia-Pacific], and projected that we would have 5,000 staff regionally by 2010. In order to not only recruit top talent but also to upgrade staff knowledge and skills, we decided to create our own facility. Our goal is to be the leading wealth management service provider of choice for our clients.' This is not the first time that UBS has created a top-tier training facility. In 1970, the bank acquired a 16th-century castle in Switzerland and turned it into a conference, meeting and communication centre. As with Command House, the interior of the Wolfsberg Executive Development Centre was modernised to meet the needs of top executives. Students stay free at the castle, which is in a remote location, while students attending courses at the Singapore facility stay in nearby hotels at the bank's expense. All courses are free for UBS staff. The Wealth Management Campus is part of the bank's long-term strategic investment plan. Recognising that staff in the industry have many options, UBS is committed to offering high-quality courses which include an 18-month Associate Residential Training programme. Participants are vetted and come from several countries in the Asia-Pacific region. The programme aims to develop participants into outstanding client advisers or product specialists in wealth management. The instructors for the courses come from two areas: 60 per cent are senior UBS staff and the other 40 per cent are external trainers who are certified by the bank to conduct the courses. The courses include areas such as technical skills, product knowledge, leadership training and executive coaching. They started in February last year with the official opening of the campus last April. The courses vary from one-day workshops to three-month programmes. The campus is the first institution to receive accreditation from the Institute of Banking and Finance (Singapore) as both a financial training provider and an assessment service provider in wealth management for the roles of assistant relationship managers and relationship manager of high-net-worth individuals. The campus' five buildings house two conference rooms which can accommodate more than 120 people. There is a media room specifically designed for training in information technology applications. There are eight lecture rooms on the campus, an outdoor cafeteria, a tennis court, and outdoor seating areas. Explaining the bank's choice of location, Ms Enslow said: 'We could have rented four floors of an office building, but we wanted the location to be an umbrella that houses UBS' philosophy of talent/client development. The location therefore needed all the ingredients to institute a proper educational training setting. With the Singapore government's support, we were fortunate to secure the Command House site, guaranteeing the government that we would preserve the historic value of the buildings. 'We also looked at partnering with a university. In Singapore there is already a Wealth Management Institute for example. However, we decided to go it alone because we wanted to have our own brand and offer in-depth courses that would not necessarily be offered by an existing institution.' Colonial base According to Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority, Command House was built by British colonial architects and engineers in the 1920s and 1930s. It was part of a British naval and air base. The building was subsequently used by the Ministry of Defence of Singapore as the air force headquarters. It is one of the few remaining outstanding pre-war colonial buildings in the city state. Command House is situated on top of a hill and stands out as a landmark, and it is now a training centre for UBS.