Barclays Wealth, the wealth management division of Barclays, has appointed Nitin Birla as director and head of the Hong Kong desk, South Asia, in a move the bank says will help it tap into the burgeoning potential of the South Asian high-net-worth community in North Asia.

In this newly-created role, BirlaÆs directive is to drive and execute the strategy for South Asian client acquisition in North Asia. He will report to Sandeep Sharma, head of South Asia, who is based in Singapore.

ôAsia-Pacific is an important growth region for our private banking business, with North Asia making a strong contribution in terms of asset growth and client base," says Didier von Daeniken, chief executive of Barclays Wealth Asia-Pacific. "We are now just one of the few private banks to have coverage of the South Asian high-net-worth segment based out of Hong Kong, complementing a well-established Hong Kong-based team currently serving the North Asian markets.ö

Prior to joining Barclays Wealth, Birla spent seven years as executive vice-president at RBS Coutts in Hong Kong, where he instituted its private banking business and implemented the strategy for South Asian client acquisition in the North Asian markets of China, Hong Kong, Korea, the Philippines and Taiwan. Before that, Birla spent six years building up CitiÆs non-resident Indian (NRI) business in Hong Kong, where he successfully established and led a team of relationship managers servicing NRI clients based in North Asia.

Birla has 20 years of experience in the banking industry, having also held senior roles at Citibank in India, and BNP Paribas in Hong Kong.