UK-based private bank Coutts announced the appointment of David Lam from GAM as its new head of North Asia, effective from May 29.

Lam joins as a managing director based in Hong Kong. He will take responsibility for the firm’s private banking teams across Hong Kong, Greater China and the Philippines. He reports to Alex Classen, chief executive of Coutts International.

Lam takes over a North Asia function that Ignatius Chong was filling in the interim. Chong, who was appointed head of private banking for North Asia following the departure of Ester Heer to Swiss private bank BSI in 2010, will focus on his role as Hong Kong market head and chairman of the Coutts Institute Asia.

In a statement, Classen suggests that Lam’s experience will help Coutts to accelerate its strategic ambitions in the region.

Lam has spent the past 11 years at GAM in Hong Kong, where he was regional head of clients and head of business. Prior to that he spent five years at Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, where he was director of private wealth services for Asia-Pacific within its international private client group.

He has also served as head of private banking for Asia-Pacific at Chemical Bank/Manufacturers Hanover.

Headquartered in London, Coutts is the wealth division of the Royal Bank of Scotland. It had £28.9 billion ($44.4 billion) in AUM globally as at the end of last year, with 500 staff across Hong Kong and Singapore.

It dropped the Royal Bank of Scotland name in November 2011 to revitalise its brand, having operated as RBS Coutts outside of the UK since 2008. RBS acquired the Coutts business when it bought National Westminster Bank in 2000.

Coutts has been rebuilding after losing close to 100 staff in Singapore following the acrimonious departure of its co-chief executive Hanspeter Brunner to BSI in 2009. Among its senior hires it brought in Gary Dugan last year as CIO for Asia and the Middle East, based in Singapore.