HSBC Private Bank names new head of Southeast Asia
Amit Gupta has been appointed chief executive for Southeast Asia at HSBC Private Bank, with effect from February 13. He replaces Nancie Dupier, who returns to HSBC Americas in New York after a two-year secondment to Singapore.

Gupta was most recently treasurer and managing director, head of global markets in Singapore. He joined HSBC in India in 1992 and held the roles of senior economist, head of derivatives and head of sales before relocating to Singapore in 2000 to develop the Southeast Asian derivatives business.

Dupier became head of private banking for Southeast Asia in late 2010 following the departure of regional CEO Monica Wong. Before that, Dupier was head of private banking for Singapore.

HSBC Private Bank’s global client assets under management were $556 billion as at June 30.

Betz joins Invesco Hong Kong as client portfolio director
Invesco Hong Kong announced it had appointed Annabel Betz as client portfolio director to promote the firm’s Asian investment capabilities to global investors and strengthen its position in Chinese equities.

Betz actually arrived back in September last year in what was a newly created role. Invesco has 17 investment professionals in Hong Kong, of which eight are focused on Chinese equities.

She spent 10 years at Credit Suisse Asset Management in New York and London as a portfolio manager and economist for emerging market equities, leaving in July 2009. She relocated to Hong Kong in late 2010.

Prior to Credit Suisse she worked at ING Baring Securities, where she became chief regional economist for Asia ex-Japan.

In a statement, Anna Tong, Invesco Hong Kong’s regional head of investments for Asia-Pacific, says Betz’s appointment underscores the importance the firm places on Chinese equities as a strategic asset class.

In Asia-Pacific, Invesco has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Japan and Australia. It has also established a presence in mainland China via two joint-ventures.

It set up Invesco Great Wall with Great Wall Securities as the first Sino-US JV asset management firm on the mainland. It now has 15 open-ended mutual funds and $6.1 billion in AUM.

In August 2008 it established Huaneng Invesco WLR, which chiefly engages in investment and consulting. It also assesses private equity investment opportunities in power generation.

As at December 2011, Invesco's Asia-Pacific investment team had $25.3 billion in assets under management.

Aerospace veteran Smith named partner at buyout firm Unitas
Unitas Capital, one of Asia’s largest buyout firms with $4 billion in capital under management, has named aerospace veteran Sir Kevin Smith as a partner based in its Hong Kong headquarters.

He joins Unitas after nine years as chief executive of GKN, a British aerospace and automotive components engineering and manufacturing firm. He was previously with British Aerospace as group managing director of new business. Smith was knighted in 2006 for services to industry.

But John Lewis, partner and chief investment officer at Unitas, notes that Smith's capabilities and experience are not limited to aerospace.

"[Smith] has an extremely strong background in manufacturing businesses with strong engineering and technology content, which is precisely where Unitas focuses," he explains. "One example is automotive, where GKN is a world leader and where Unitas has had a successful track record.”

Coutts hires Mittal as regional head of NRI business in Middle East build-out
Swiss private bank Coutts, rebranded from RBS Coutts at the end of last year, has appointed Arjun Mittal from Sarasin Alpen as regional head of NRI business, with responsibility for leading the operation through its expansion drive in the Middle East and Europe.

Based in Dubai, Mittal joined last month in a newly created role to drive the growth of Coutts’ NRI business. It comes after the firm announced plans to recruit 20 staff this year across the Middle East, where it plans to double assets under management to around $8 billion by 2015.

Mittal reports to Ranjit Khanna, global head of NRI and South Asia, for the NRI business, and Amir Sadr, head of the UAE and private office Middle East, for UAE market governance.

Mittal joins from Bank Sarasin Alpen in Dubai, where he was a managing director with responsibility for developing the NRI franchise in the Middle East. Prior to that he spent nine years at American Express Private Bank, most recently in Dubai.

Coutts has three offices in the Middle East: Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Doha. Of the planned 20 new recruits in the Middle East platform, 15 will be based in Dubai. The firm has also hired Akram Khattab from Sarasin and Ali-Reza Vahabzadeh from Citi to cover the Middle East out of Geneva.

The private bank is in the advanced stages of an application for a DIFC licence to operate as an authorised firm, which forms a key plank in its growth strategy.

A Coutts spokesman notes that the firm's global AUM stood at £32 billion at the end of 2010, with year-end 2011 figures not due to be released until February 23.

Ex-Merrill chairman to promote Qatar as regional asset management hub
The Qatar Financial Centre Authority appointed ex-Merrill Lynch chairman Bob Wigley as a non-executive director to promote Qatar to the global fund management industry as a regional hub for asset management.

Wigley’s current roles include being chairman of Yell Group, and last year he was appointed ambassador for UK business by British prime minister David Cameron.

“I’ve been hugely impressed by Qatar as a country and Doha as a developing financial centre,” Wigley says in a statement. “The QFC Authority has a strong platform to build upon and a clear strategy as to how to attract leading financial institutions to the country.”

Wigley resigned in January 2009 as chairman of Merrill Lynch Europe, Middle East and Africa following the completion of the takeover by Bank of America.

Other moves reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Headhunter aims to bring Europeans to Asia fund firms

Credit Suisse taps Reedman for consultant relationships

Prudential AM appoints sales director for North Asia

Perpetual names new CEO after Ryan's abrupt exit

Sparx relocates Kubo to Hong Kong office as president