Credit Suisse's private bank has hired a new head of alternative investments for Asia Pacific, while on the traditional asset side it is expanding coverage of exchange-traded funds with a view to providing more tactical trading ideas.

Donald Rice will relocate in March to Singapore to head up alternative investments for private banking in Asia Pacific. Currently Zurich-based head of alternative investment coverage in the international wealth management division, Rice will replace Michael Levin.

Levin was promoted to head the Asia-Pacific asset management business in December and will retain both roles until Rice’s transfer.  

Rice will oversee offerings across hedge funds, private equity and real estate, and report to Rajesh Manwani, Asia-Pacific head of investment solutions and products for private banking.

It is understood that Rice will be expanding resources in the alternative investment team, which is currently five-strong across Hong Kong and Singapore, as well as broadening the alternative investment offering.

Meanwhile, on the traditional investment side, Credit Suisse Private Banking is expanding its coverage of exchange-traded funds, said Rodolphe Larqué, Asia-Pacific head of funds and ETFs at Credit Suisse Private Banking. “We plan on introducing regular tactical recommendations in line with our research’s high-conviction calls."

He added that there had been an increased demand for tactical trade ideas in light of market volatility. One example of a tactical strategy is using the floating-rate structure of high-yield securities to benefit from rising interest rates. “This could be an alternative for yield-seeking investors who are heavily weighted in traditional fixed-coupon-paying high-yield bonds,” said Larqué.

In view of the recent volatility in global equity markets and continued client interest in income-focused strategies, Credit Suisse also recently added a regional multi-asset income fund to its platform, with multiple share classes and a monthly distribution structure. Larqué declined to identify the product.

Asked if he planned to onboard funds approved under the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition scheme, he was non-committal, saying Credit Suisse was taking a prudent approach in evaluating the business opportunities presented by MRF because of the complexities of the on-boarding process. 

Larqué said there were several structural differences between the onshore fund structure and the current bank operating environment. An onshore fund custodian may not have connectivity with Credit Suisse's appointed custodian and may have a different operational set-up, settlement cycle and fund structure, he noted.