Coutts boosts Asia products and services team

The UK private bank continues its rebuilding process in the region with three senior hires in Singapore.
Coutts boosts Asia products and services team

UK-based Coutts has made three senior hires in Singapore and will have more to announce in the coming months, as it continues to rebuild and restructure its Asian business.

Edouard Hoepffner will join Coutts in Singapore on Monday (April 16) as executive director and head of new product development and client solutions, a role created in the restructuring announced in November. He was most recently managing director and head of product structuring, derivatives at Daiwa Capital Markets in Hong Kong.

Hoepffner has also worked in the global markets businesses of Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch, and started his career at Société Générale Asset Management. 

He will report to Ranjit Khanna, Coutts’ Singapore-based interim Asia head of products and services and global head of the non-resident Indians and South Asia business.

In addition, Elaine Ngim will join Coutts as director and Asia head of fixed income in Singapore, also on Monday. She was most recently senior vice-president for investment advisory for Southeast Asia at Clariden Leu in Singapore.

With 15 years’ experience in Asian markets, Ngim has also previously worked at JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Kieran Calder will join Coutts in Singapore on April 23 as director and Asia head of equities. He has 17 years’ experience, most recently as head of equities and research at Macquarie Capital Securities in Kuala Lumpur. 

Both Calder and Ngim’s roles are newly created posts; Coutts has equities and fixed-income specialists in the region, but not regional heads in those areas. The duo will report to Coutts’s Asia chief investment officer, Norman Villamin.

The bank is also in the process of hiring a permanent Asia head of products and services, who will come on board “in the short term”, says Khanna. The position was created as part of the restructuring process; previously there was only a global head in this area.

Asked about the types of products that have been popular recently in Asia, Khanna has seen demand for tactical products with shorter tenors that are “yield-enhancement-led”. One example he gives is that of a fixed maturity plan, such as a 12-month basket linked to fixed-income paper or renminbi instruments.

Meanwhile, Khanna points to the continuing need for innovation, something he says Hoepffner has a great deal of experience in across multiple asset classes.

“Coutts has been a phenomenal expansion story over the past year or so in Asia, so it was only natural to enhance the support functions, particularly in this region,” he adds.

A Singapore-based recruiter makes a similar point: “Coutts have done better than people think [since the mass staff departures]. It’s still a strong name, and slowly but surely they’re rebuilding and getting traction.”

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