Investment house LGT Capital Management has unveiled Marcel de Bruijckere as its first head of Asian distribution as it seeks to break into the region’s institutional and wholesale markets.

De Bruijckere started at the firm on August 10 in a business development role in Singapore. He says he wants to hire two people initially: one a senior role based in Hong Kong and focusing on Greater China; the other a mid-level position looking at Southeast Asia out of Singapore.

LGT Capital Management is a subsidiary of LGT Group and was originally a family office for managing the assets of the Princely House of Liechtenstein.

Headquartered in Vaduz, Liechtenstein, but based in Zurich, it brands itself as an active investment house specialising in strategy solutions including asset allocation and multi-manager. It also incorporates behavioural finance research into its investment process.

Its product manufacturing capability is based in Switzerland, but it does have a team of four on the investments side based in Singapore.

De Bruijckere, who has 20 years of asset management experience overall, notes that there has been increased interest in asset allocation among institutional investors seeking ideas and advice.

“For this reason it makes good sense to provide clients with services from within the region,” says de Bruijckere, highlighting growing demand for discretionary multi-asset and advisory services.

“We have already engaged with a few third parties on this [multi-asset] topic,” he adds. “I would say it’s a cyclical trend. There were a lot of balanced managers 20 or 30 years ago, before institutions turned towards asset allocation and started hiring specialist managers. Now we have seen multi-asset solutions come into play again.”

De Bruijckere also suggests that inflation-linked bonds have become a regular topic on the agenda of Asian central banks. “I am not saying there is huge demand, but there is definitely interest.”

Torsten de Santos, CEO of LGT Capital Management, points out that having a presence in the region is a pre-requisite for building successful strategic distribution partnerships with financial institutions in Asia through sub-advisory and white-labelling arrangements.

Asked about the difficulty of breaking into Asia’s competitive distribution arena, De Bruijckere says LGT Capital Management differentiates itself simply by offering clients the same investment capabilities applied in managing the assets for the Princely House of Liechtenstein, resulting in an alignment of investment interests between LGT Capital Management, its owners and its clients.

De Bruijckere previously worked for Fortis Investments and ABN Amro Asset Management, where his most recent roles included CEO Singapore, head of institutional sales for South and Southeast Asia and head of multi-asset solutions Asia-Pacific.

Overall LGT Capital Management has about $24 billion in assets and in Asia is represented by LGT Bank (Singapore). Twenty-five years after it set up in Asia, LGT Bank last month started to book assets in Hong Kong, having received its banking licence in April this year.