Esther Heer rejoins Hanspeter Brunner at BSI

The RBS Coutts veteran becomes the next to depart the UK firm for the Swiss private bank, which has also hired Ciro Ahmad as chief operating officer.

The BSI-RBS Coutts saga continues, as Esther Heer, largely responsible for building RBS Coutts's Hong Kong business, resurfaced yesterday on familiar shores.

Having left the UK firm in May, Heer has joined Hanspeter Brunner, to whom she reported for some 13 of the 20 years that she was at RBS Coutts, before he left last year to join Swiss private bank BSI, part of Italian insurer Generali.

Heer will run the North Asia business for BSI out of Hong Kong as deputy chief executive of BSI Asia and CEO of BSI Investment Advisors (Hong Kong), responsible for private wealth advisory for North Asia. BSI already had an asset management subsidiary in Hong Kong, and Heer joins the existing staff there.

Heer has some 30 years of banking experience and was instrumental in setting up and building RBS Coutts's Hong Kong branch, which opened as a representative office in 1988.

Meanwhile, Ciro Ahmad has also joined as chief operating officer of BSI Investment Advisors (Hong Kong), he too having moved from RBS Coutts. He has 10 years' experience in private banking in the areas of investment, risk and branch management, having also worked in Geneva and London.

Both new hires report to Brunner, Singapore-based CEO of BSI Asia, which also has a presence in Shanghai.

Further additions will be made in Hong Kong, but BSI did not provide any specific numbers, and would only say that these will be "more of an organic development".

Ignatius Chong replaced Heer at RBS Coutts in May, having been promoted from head of the Hong Kong market. Heer's departure from the UK firm followed the departure of some 70 staff, the bulk of whom also moved to BSI.

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