The private banking arm of Bank of Montreal has appointed a new head for its Asia business.  

BMO Private Bank which distributes third party funds, has also expressed an interest in distributing mainland funds approved under the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition fund scheme.

According to a person close to BMO group, its private banking arm has hired Monique Chan to run the Asia operations, replacing Robert Cormie who resigned in May this year. Chan will come on board later this month, the source added.

Chan was the former chief executive and head of Asia at Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild, based in Hong Kong. A spokesperson at BMO Private Bank declined to confirm or deny Chan’s appointment.

Chan left the private banking business of Edmond de Rothschild in May.  The bank’s spokeswoman said they are in the process of hiring a replacement for Chan.

Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild has seen a string of executive departures recently. Following Chan's departure, managing director Steven So resigned. In April. Grace Lee, head of legal and compliance also resigned.

Francis Tang, managing director and market head, relationship management, is the acting CEO of Edmond de Rothschild in Hong Kong.

Patrick Saurini has recently transferred from Edmond de Rothschild's head office in Geneva to the Hong Kong branch as managing director, relationship management and business development. He has been with the private bank since 2011.

Samuel Tsang joined as head of compliance in May from Societe Generale Private Banking Asia Pacific. Both Saurini and Tsang report to the acting CEO.

Edmond de Rothschild has been in Asia since 1992 and has a total private banking AUM of CHF80 billion. It did not provide the AUM for its Asia business.

Meanwhile, BMO’s former Asia head is said to be in Canada now. Cormie left in May after two years with the private bank. He was appointed regional vice president and managing director for private banking Asia in January 2013 from CIBC Private Bank, which was acquired by Bank of Montreal.

He brought along with him a majority of the CIBC staff, including Edmund Yun, executive director for investments at BMO Private Bank. Yun declined to comment about Cormie’s replacement.

He was more forthcoming on the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition fund (MRF) scheme. Yun, who is the fund gatekeeper at the private bank, said he is open to distribute these funds.

Yun said BMO will consider mainland funds approved under the MRF program for future distribution, as this will allow its high-net-worth investors access to investments and strategies that are not available presently.  

In related MRF news, Schroder Investment Management has announced its appointment of Bank of Communications Schroder Fund Management (Bocom Schroders) as its master agent for the MRF business in China.

Established in 2005, Bocom Schroders, the JV of the two firms, will be responsible for fund registration, regulatory liaison, fund distribution and support on marketing initiatives on the mainland.

The JV has submitted Schroder’s Asian Asset Income fund for approval for distribution in China.    

The fund is a multi-asset product that has an AUM of HK$43 billion as of 29 May 2015.