Susie Chong has joined ABN Amro Asset Management in Taipei from Sydney, where she had worked for First State, as head of marketing support. She reports to Frances Chang, president of ABN Amro AM's Taiwan office.

The hire reflects the firm's positioning itself in light of upcoming legislation that will merge the Site and Sice businesses. Sites, securities investment trust enterprises, are firms that can market and sell onshore and offshore funds, while Sices, securities investment consulting enterprises, are firms that can provide advice to investors but cannot market or sell a specific fund.

It is typical for businesses to hold both a Site and a Sice license but they are legally separate entities.

The Executive Yuan, however, is contemplating a law that merges the two licenses and allow one company to do both. Although effectively firms such as ABN Amro can do both functions, there are inefficiencies and costs in the separation. The new law will give asset management firms more flexibility.

"We've hired Susie to provide an objective advisory service," says Chang. In effect, ABN Amro's Site will take advantage of the upcoming law to act as a financial planner, challenging banks that are discovering wealth management. "Local banks claim they have a wealth management service, but we've found they are limited to quantitative analysis," Chang adds. "They just look at things like Sharpe ratios but have nothing related to qualitative analysis, such as investment style, the stability of a fund manager or investment strategy. Financial planning needs credibility."

She claims that ABN Amro will be neutral in regards to the information it provides to clients and distributors.

"In the US, independent financial advisors play a big role in asset allocation and we want to introduce that model," Chang says.