Philippe Dirckx, formerly of Euroclear Bank, has joined Citi's securities and fund services division in Hong Kong as managing director and regional client and sales management head for intermediaries and infrastructure, Asia-Pacific.

His joining marks the second heavyweight hire for Citi in the region following the recent appointment of Chris Ryan, former head of Fidelity International for Asia ex-Japan. Dirckx has been hired both in a sales capacity, as well as to utilise his think-tank type credentials with new and existing clients. 

His role encompasses sales to banks and broker/dealer clients and has a focus on the growth of alternative exchanges such as Chi-East (a joint venture between the Singapore Stock Exchange and Chi-X in the region). In addition to these responsibilities, his job will also include market advocacy at Citi and, as part of this, he will try to forge close relationships with regional regulators.

As alternative trading venues crop up around the region, Citi will focus on the changes in the market and spearhead a coordinated approach for its clients, says Dirckx.

On the sales front, primarily he will investigate ways Citi can do additional business with intermediaries. In particular, Citi will further explore derivative services as well as custody as a function of this role in more mature markets, he says.

Citi also expects that Dirckx's hire will create similar types of value-added opportunities in highly regulated markets such as India, China, Taiwan and Korea. In particular, it is likely Citi will target domestic broker/dealers looking to expand regionally, which has been a clear trend in markets like Korea. As they expand regionally and, in some cases globally, Citi wants to help them move to the next level in terms of providing clearing solutions, Dirckx says.

As an infrastructure specialist, he will focus on the changing roles of local exchanges, clearing and security depositories, and, to a lesser extent, central banks. Regulations in Europe such as the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive (MiFID) have increased competition for established exchanges and options for broker/dealers to trade. Dirckx says, as these infrastructures look beyond their traditional borders and expand into Asia-Pacific, he will monitor developments for Citi in the region and lead opportunities within this active market.

Furthermore, he will work to expand Citi's on-exchange clearing platform in Asia-Pacific. According to Dirckx, more OTC trades will move towards on-exchange clearing as clients demand more enhanced liquidity, greater transparency and a reduction in credit risk.

Dirckx joined Citi from Euroclear where he was previously based in Hong Kong as regional CEO of Asia-Pacific, a position he held for five years. Prior to that, he worked for Fortis in a variety of executive roles in both Europe and Asia for 20 years.

He started at Citi two weeks ago and reports to David Russell, managing director, regional head of securities and fund services, Asia-Pacific, and globally to London-based Tom Isaac, global head of client sales management for intermediaries.