Liechtenstein-based boutique VP Bank has poached Patrick Donaldson from Barclays Wealth, with several more hires to come in a planned restructuring and expansion of its Asian business. 

Donaldson started in his newly created role this month as executive director and senior relationship manager after leaving the UK bank in December. He remains in the city-state, having previously worked as vice-president and team leader of expatriate coverage at Barclays Wealth.

Donaldson’s role will be to service non-Asian clients living in the region. “In addition to targeting Southeast Asian clients [out of Singapore], we see an opportunity to target international clients who are working in Asia,” says Ian Pollock, who joined VP as chief executive for Asia on January 1 from Julius Baer in Hong Kong.

Barclays Wealth declined to comment on whether Donaldson had been or would be replaced.

VP Bank is planning to boost its regional headcount of 38 (of which 30 are in Singapore) by around 15% in the next three months. The plan is to restructure the business to focus on private clients in core regional markets, as well as international clients based in Asia.

The firm has both an intermediary and traditional private client business, says Pollock. It is also seeking senior staff to market its intermediary services to Asian clients including family offices, that is services such as product research and trade execution.

VP is also looking to add a few senior marketing staff on the Asian private client side who will provide more focus around the key markets of Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Singapore, says Pollock. He adds that the bank will expand to cover other target markets in future, but will focus on these for now.

As for VP’s eight-strong advisory dealing business in Hong Kong – where it obtained an asset management licence in 2007 – the bank is also hoping to add other members to the team there.

VP has spent a couple of years building out its operational and product platform into a scalable set-up, and is now bringing people on board to put it into action.

“We haven’t built out the bank's marketing teams extensively until now,” says Pollock. “We now want to create a business that is feasible in a world of lower interest rates and lower margins.”

“We had a mix of legacy European coverage before – with one person dedicated to it – but that focus has now shifted to Asia-domiciled business, whether expats in Asia or traditional Asian private clients,” he adds.

Donaldson has also served as a team leader and divisional director at Gerrard Investment Management, a wealth management firm that became part of Barclays Wealth; a portfolio manager at stockbroker Greig Middleton; and a ship broker at James Fisher & Sons.

VP Bank (Singapore) was established in 2008 and is the Asian subsidiary of Liechtenstein-based VP Bank Group. It provides wealth management solutions and family office services for high-net-worth individuals and professional asset managers.

It has a booking centre in Singapore and an advisory business in Hong Kong, while VP Bank also has a presence in Vaduz, Zurich, Luxembourg, Tortola (BVI), Munich and Moscow.

The firm’s Singapore branch is headed by managing director Reto Isenring, who has been with VP Bank since 2006 and is also responsible for Southeast Asia.

Founded in 1956, VP Bank is listed on Six Swiss Exchange and has some 750 employees advising on client assets of around SFr40 billion ($43.6 billion).