Geneva-based Banque Heritage has launched Asian asset management and capital markets operations in Singapore, with Alston Beinhorn as regional chief executive of Heritage Asset Management.

He will lead the Asian expansion of the Swiss family-owned firm's asset management business, with an immediate mandate to expand headcount, while Heritage Capital Asia is headed by Greggory Piercy.

With close to 30 years of private banking experience, Beinhorn was most recently managing director of investments at Merrill Lynch in Singapore, a post he took up in February 2008. He previously worked for 26 years at Citi Private Bank in Singapore, as well as in the US, UK and Canada.

The 19-strong Singapore operation had its soft opening in August and has since amassed close to S$100 million ($71.2 million) in client assets. Heritage Asset Management plans to hire around five more senior professionals next year, Beinhorn tells AsianInvestor, and its main target regions are China, Hong Kong, Southeast Asia and Taiwan.

Heritage Asset Management, an open-architecture investment platform, will manage equities, fixed income and funds. Heritage Capital Asia, as in Europe, will focus on debt capital markets (DCM) trading, sales and origination; structuring and distribution of DCM products to support institutional clients in the region; and provide corporate finance and advisory services, with an initial focus on China, Indonesia, Malaysia and Australia.

The Singapore office launch underlines the growing demand from Asian private and corporate clients for independent advice and specialist financial solutions in increasingly complex global markets, says Banque Heritage.

The group has seen net private wealth inflows in 2009 of Sfr2.6 billion ($1.85 billion) globally. "This has given us the confidence to establish a foothold in Asia and participate in the exciting growth prospects this region offers," says Carlos Esteve, group founder and chief executive.