Swiss private banking group Julius Baer is set to announce the appointment of Jacqueline Koo from LGT Investment Management as its new head of portfolio management for North Asia.

She will head a newly formed team based in Hong Kong together with Erika Mok, who will eventually take responsibility for the multi-asset portfolios for clients in North Asia.

Most recently, Koo worked as managing director and head of investment management for LGT in Asia, based in Hong Kong. She will report to Kenneth Ho, global deputy head of Julius Baer’s investment solutions group and head of products for Asia.

Mok also worked for LGT Investment Management, most recently as a portfolio manager on the discretionary management team.

Julius Baer has prioritised investing in products and product support in Asia and hired Hsiao Ching Tang from BNP Paribas earlier this year as head of funds advisory for Southeast Asia. She heads a team of three based in Singapore to market managed funds and funds solutions.

“We recognise after the credit crisis that too many of our clients felt they could beat the markets by punting on individual equity plays and putting too much individual risk into portfolios,” says Ho. “We are strategically making an effort to hire what we believe to be the best people who know how to market managed products, as well as people who know how to manage money. We continue to believe that the managing of portfolios is best left to professionals.”

At the latest count Julius Baer had SFr166 billion ($170 billion) in assets under management globally, of which about 15% is based in Asia. The bank has set a target that Asia should represent 25% of its global AUM base by 2015. This month, its chairman Raymond Bär and CEO Boris Collardi convened a board of directors meeting in Singapore to signify Asia’s increased importance to the firm.

“We aim to double our asset base by 2015. That is not only done by hiring senior bankers, but by putting more investment into products and product support,” adds Ho. “We are not going to beat rivals by providing better service, but by better performance and more balanced advice to our client base.”

Julius Baer has applied for branch status in Hong Kong and is hopeful it will be able to upgrade its presence to a booking centre before the end of this year. This will enable it to provide a greater range of services, which it can then market in the Greater China region.

While Julius Baer has its main regional booking centre in Singapore, it is eager to tap into what it sees as the greater growth potential of North Asia. Having a booking centre in Hong Kong will facilitate its expansion into this region, given the city’s links and proximity to clients in China.

Julius Baer has also applied for an asset management licence in Hong Kong, and plans to open a representative office in Shanghai and a trust company in Singapore next year upon application and regulatory approvals.