HSBC appoints Singapore alternative fund services director

In replacing Allard DeJong, the lack of enough talent in Singapore prompts HSBC to import depth from Europe.
HSBC has appointed a former Citco executive as head of Singapore operations for its alternative fund services business. Wout Kalis will move from Citco in Amsterdam to replace a vacancy left by Allard DeJong, who recently left after four years of service to join a fund of hedge funds.

ôThe fund house is a client of ours and Allard left us on very good terms,ö says Arjun Bambawale, CEO of HSBC Institutional Trust Services in Singapore.

He notes HSBC commands the biggest market share for hedge fund administration in Singapore û he says 65% of the market. ôTo find someone locally to fill this role was next to impossible,ö he says, forcing the firm to look either to Hong Kong or to Europe.

This is a reflection of the surge in competition in Singapore. Over the past year, many banks have established an alternative fund administration capability in the Lion City, including big banks such as Citigroup and JPMorgan, as well as specialists such as LaCrosse. Although this has improved the local talent pool, demand for specialists continues to outstrip supply.

ôThe one thing that can hold back growth in Singapore is the lack of skilled resources,ö says Hong Kong-based Lilian Wong, head of alternative fund services for Asia-Pacific. ôWout brings experience that will help local staff learn more.ö

She adds KalisÆ background includes fixed income and derivatives, non-equity areas that are more common among hedge fund strategies operating in Singapore, but for which Asian staff generally lack experience. ôWe must ensure our staff understand how to price and value these instruments,ö she says.

Rambawale says addressing human resources is a priority for both the firm and the Singapore government. Regulators have developed courses at Nanyang Polytechnic, which HSBC supports by sending its staff there for training. ôWe need to up the ante, enhance our skills and show people there is a career progression.ö

KalisÆ responsibilities will include client service, portfolio valuation, client relationship management, business development and implementation in Singapore of the businessÆ global strategy. At Citco, he had been part of the management team and helped set up a client-relationship team across multiple divisions. He has been involved in securities services for eight years.
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