In a move that reflects the continued growth of Singapore as a centre for global wealth, Swiss private bank Clariden Leu has created the role of head of European market and external asset managers in Asia.

Peter Buehler took up the Singapore-based post on June 1 and is responsible for European clients and external asset managers who want to book their assets in the Lion City. He reports to Othmar Foffa, head of Southern Europe in Lugano, Switzerland.

"The demand from European clients who want to have closer proximity to Asia and are looking for investment opportunities in the region has picked up," says Jimmy Lee, Clariden Leu's Asia chief executive in Singapore. "This underscores the need for us to allocate resources in the right places."

"Now that we have Peter onboard," he tells AsianInvestor, "we will continue to hire selectively to grow the team over the coming months."

Buehler's hire may point to a nascent trend, as market participants report that other wealth-management firms in Asia -- among them, Bank of Singapore (BoS) -- are having success attracting assets from Europe-based clients. Indeed, doing so was one of BoS's stated aims when it formally announced its takeover of ING Private Bank's Asia operations.

Buehler was previously head of financial intermediaries for Southeast Asia at UBS, a position he left in late May after some 20 years with the Swiss banking giant.

This comes at a time when UBS is under pressure from the US to hand over the data of more than 4,000 of its clients alleged to have avoided US tax. Earlier this week, the Swiss lower house voted against allowing the data to be shared, in a blow to the deal the Swiss government made with the US last year.

Erich Pfister, head of private banking for the Middle East and Asia at Clariden Leu, says: "Our European clients are increasingly looking for investment opportunities in Singapore, given its key position as one of the leading wealth management booking centres in the world.

"As such, Peter Buehler is an important strategic hire for Clariden Leu," adds Pfister, "since he has extensive European experience and excellent client relationships which are in line with our target clientele in the region."

Buehler had been at UBS since 1989 and has worked for other organisations, including Deutsche Bank in Geneva and Falck & Cie Private Bank in Lucerne, Switzerland.

Clariden Leu has also made other hires from large wealth-management firms such as Deutsche Bank and HSBC in recent months, in both Hong Kong and Singapore.