Pollock to join Liechtenstein bank as CEO in Singapore build-out
Julius Baer’s departing CFO for Asia and COO for North Asia, Ian Pollock, is to join boutique private player VP Bank (Singapore) as Asia CEO, AsianInvestor can exclusively confirm.
VP Bank (Singapore) was established in 2008 and is the Asian subsidiary of Liechtenstein-based VP Bank Group. It boasts of a client-centric strategy that it aims to build out across the region.
Pollock will be the man driving that regional expansion from the start of next year, and sources indicate he will be fulfilling a personal ambition by sitting in the CEO seat.
Previously he worked as deputy CEO and regional COO at Republic National Bank before it was taken over by HSBC Private Bank, and as regional COO at Security Pacific Bank before it was taken over by Bank of America.
In both instances he harboured ambitions for the CEO job, only to be thwarted amid takeovers. It is understood the opportunity to take on such a role was too strong a draw for Pollock to resist and he will exit Julius Baer in the middle of next month after two years in the job.
Perhaps he also felt that the door had been closed to near-term progression at Julius Baer. Last month the firm announced the appointment of Kaven Leung from Goldman Sachs as its deputy Asia chief executive and North Asia CEO, effective from April 19 last year.
While ostensibly brought in to replace Andrea Benenati, who quit as Julius Baer’s North Asia chief to set up as an independent asset manager, Leung will have a far bigger role as deputy CEO. In effect he is the anointed successor of Tom Meier, CEO for Asia and the Middle East.
The job with VP Bank (Singapore) will require gusto from Pollock, who has seen the back of 50 years of age. But at the same time he will be seeking to grow a small organisation from scratch and will not face the legacy issues that many bigger and more established institutions face.
VP Bank as a business may also not be as unattractive to bankers as it might once have been. Claude Haberer, Pictet’s recently appointed Asia-Pacific CEO, told AsianInvestor that its old fashioned private banking model was back in fashion and catching the eye of senior bankers.
As an institution VP Bank (Singapore) provides wealth management solutions and family office services for high-net-worth individuals and professional asset managers. It has a booking centre in Singapore and an advisory business in Hong Kong, while VP Bank also has a presence in Vaduz, Zurich, Luxembourg, Tortola (BVI), Munich and Moscow.
At the end of June this year the group had SFr10.7 billion ($11.6 billion) in assets under management, a 6% year-on-year decline, and SFr39 billion in client assets. Its cost-income ratio stood at 69.2%.
Only this week Julius Baer announced Frank Keller as its CFO for Asia and Tobias Murer as COO for Hong Kong, effective from January 2012. They both succeed Pollock.
Barclays Wealth’s Greater China chief set for December start
Barclays Wealth confirmed the appointment of Januar Tjandra from Goldman Sachs as its new head of Greater China based in Hong Kong, in news previously broken by AsianInvestor.
Effective from December 5, Tjandra takes on a newly created role at the private banking arm of the UK’s Barclays Bank, which is seeking to double its Greater China AUM within three years.
Although Barclays Wealth does not break out its regional numbers, Asia-Pacific is understood to account for around 10% of its global assets under management of £170 billion ($268 billion).
The firm’s recently installed North Asia head, Pakorn Boonya-kurkul, has set out an ambitious growth agenda to double AUM in Asia to over $50 billion by 2014.
Barclays Wealth wants to increase the number of private bankers it has by 50% in Hong Kong and Singapore by the end of 2012. That would mean adding 50 more bankers, since it is understood to have around 100 at present.
Tjandra will have responsibility for the firm’s Greater China coverage teams, with the aim of growing Barclays Wealth’s high- and ultra-high-net-worth client base. He will work to provide bespoke solutions and leverage the capabilities of Barclays Capital, the investment banking division.
He reports to Boonya-kurkul, who noted in a statement on his appointment that high-net-worth client relationships require complex private and business wealth management solutions.
Barclays Wealth hired Boonya-kurkul from HSBC Private Bank in May to replace Joanna Chu as head of North Asia in a targeted drive to accelerate its Greater China growth. Chu assumed the role of market head and chief country officer for Hong Kong.
Barclays Wealth achieved booking-centre status in Hong Kong late last year, which it wants to use as a springboard for growth in Greater China above all.
Tjandra worked for Goldman Sachs for 15 years in various roles, including co-head of the Hong Kong office and head of the Taiwan desk. Most recently he was focusing on relationships with Taiwanese clients offshore from Hong Kong.
Asked if Goldman would seek to replace Tjandra, a spokeswoman for the firm said only that it already had a team to cover Taiwanese clients.
Other moves reported by AsianInvestor this week: