BMO Private Bank’s new Asia chief has been tasked with an aggressive expansion of the regional business, AsianInvestor has been told.

The private bank’s Asia and Canada head said that her new CEO’s remit was to grow the size of the firm's regional assets and build up partnerships with sister companies to leverage capabilities within the group.

To support the growth, the international wealth arm of Canada’s Bank of Montreal has already started building out its product shelf and handing out mandates. It will also hire a number of additional private bankers; BMO PB currently has 20 relationship managers in Asia.

Yesterday Hong Kong-based Monique Chan started at BMO PB as chief executive for Asia, reporting to Myra Cridland, head of BMO PB for Asia and Canada. Chan was hired from the private bank and asset manager Edmond de Rothschild where she was Hong Kong CEO and Asia head, as reported last month.

Cridland said Chan’s remit was to grow the regional business, build partnerships and collaborate with the group's capital markets and asset management business lines.

Cridland declined to reveal her AUM target growth for Asia but noted the time was right to expand BMO from a relatively small private bank to a more significant player. BMO PB in Asia was born out of the acquisition of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s (CIBC) Asian wealth business in January 2014.

To support this growth, the private bank has started building out its product shelf, a move that includes handing out segregated mandates to portfolio managers.

“We spent a fair amount of time integrating CIBC with BMO. Now we are fully integrated and we are building a robust product shelf,” she said. BMO PB in Asia was born from the acquisition of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce’s Asian wealth business in January 2014.

A recent addition to its product shelf was the introduction of a series of global equity and fixed income exchange-traded fund portfolios managed by BMO Global Asset Management. The programme has not been restricted to BMO-issued ETFs but also includes 3-4 other issuers such as Vanguard and State Street, said Edmund Yun, executive director for investments at BMO PB.

Yun said there had been good demand for the ETF portfolios since their launch because of the diversification they provided. The ETF programme offers a range of risk appetite.

The private bank already offers advisory and traditional discretionary portfolios to clients. On the advisory front, the bank recently added a manager running a dynamic fixed income fund but it declined to name them.

On the discretionary front, the bank is in the final stages of selecting a manager to advise on the Asia ex-Japan equity portfolio. Yun said that as the asset size grows, BMO PB will look to add more managers for Asia ex-Japan equity.

It has selected F&C Asset Management for the European equity mandate which it was looking to add to its discretionary model last year.

BMO PB had C$1.7 billion ($1.3 billion) in total assets as of the end of June 2015. It does not disclose its AUM.