Desmond Liu's role expands at HSBC Private Bank

Amid other senior moves, the UK firm's head of China now oversees Hong Kong as well as the mainland.

HSBC Private Bank has promoted Desmond Liu to the newly created role of head of Greater China. He was previously head of China and, as of February 1, his responsibilities include oversight of the business in Hong Kong, which is led by Randy Chu and Monique Chan.

Pakorn Boonyakurkul continues to be responsible for the Taiwan market, working closely with Liu on strategic directives, says a spokeswoman. Both remain in Hong Kong and report to Asia chief executive Monica Wong.

An AsianInvestor source says one likely reason for the promotion was to simplify the reporting lines to Wong, with Chu and Chan now reporting into Liu. HSBC declined to comment on the organisational structure.

Liu had been head of China since September 2007, having joined from DBS Bank, where he was head of private banking for North Asia and Greater China. HSBC officially launched its onshore China private-banking operation in April 2008.

The appointment follows other recent senior moves at the private bank in Asia. Nancie Dupier, previously New York-based investment head for the Americas, has replaced Jimmy So as chief executive for Singapore, reporting to Wong. The move was announced in December, and Dupier started in the role at the end of January.

Sandeep Sharma is also thought to have joined HSBC Private Bank in the Lion City as a managing director, although the firm would not confirm this. He was previously team head for South Asia at Barclays Wealth in Singapore, where he has been replaced by Vikram Malhotra.

Meanwhile, HSBC is planning to relocate group private-banking head Chris Meares to Hong Kong from London, according to the Financial Times. The bank did not confirm the move by press time, but AsianInvestor sources say it is going ahead.

Before Meares took up his present role in November 2006, he was responsible for HSBC Private Bank's businesses in the UK, Channel Islands and Luxembourg, and was the global head of its trust and estate planning businesses.

His relocation appears a further indication of HSBC's belief in the growing importance of Asia, following the arrival of HSBC group chief executive Michael Geoghegan in Hong Kong in late January.

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