Axa Investment Managers (Axa IM) is expanding its sales and marketing team in Asia, and has added a senior salesperson dedicated to private banking.

The new hire is part of the asset manager’s bid to boost its private banking coverage.

A number of salespeople are to be added over time, according to the firm’s Asia head of sales and marketing.

Yesterday the fund house announced it had hired Singapore-based Kelly Ng as director of private banking coverage for Asia. Ng joined Axa IM in June but the move was only announced yesterday after gaining regulatory approvals.

Ng was recruited from alternatives asset manager Permal Singapore, where he had been vice president for South Asia business development since 2011.  He previously held various positions at Citi Singapore. He reports to Terence Lam, Axa IM’s Hong Kong-based head of sales and marketing for Asia.

Lam said Ng’s position was newly created as part of an attempt to strengthen Axa IM's coverage of private banks.

Most fund houses have salespeople solely responsible for distributing funds to private banks, but Lam denied that Axa IM was late to the game, saying that private banks’ demand for asset management services was still growing.

“It’s not that we are just going after the private banking segment now. We have been working with private banks and we are expanding this further by bringing in a senior person. This is also in line with our global focus,” said Lam.

He added that the firm has a clear commitment to expand its headcount, client base and product offering in Asia but declined to provide details. He declined to comment on the current size of the team but noted that additional hires will be across private banking, retail and institutional sales.

Axa IM has been building out its business in the region. Last year it expanded its retail products and headcount, and indicated its move to clearly separate retail and private bank sales, as reported.

The French firm, however, has suffered management setbacks this year. It lost its Asia-Pacific chief executive, Simon Flood, just six months after he took up the role. The post has been taken up by Bruno Guilloton, shareholder representative for Asia for the past seven years.

Axa Asia also lost its chief investment officer, Arnaud Mounier, who left in April to join AllianceBernstein to lead its Asian insurance business development. Mounier was replaced by Boris Moutier, who had been Axa IM's head of relationships for Asia and Japan since 2013.

AXA IM had €689billion ($749 billion) in AUM as of the end of March 2015. Its Asia offices are in Hong Kong, Beijing, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo, as well as joint ventures in Shanghai, Seoul and Mumbai.