Swiss firm Lombard Odier has bolstered its asset-management business in Asia with the relocation of Emmanuel Roulin to Hong Kong, and it plans to hire at least two sales and marketing executives to support him.

In a newly created post, Roulin will run the business development and institutional client relationship management activities of Lombard Odier Investment Managers and Lombard Odier Funds for the Asia-Pacific region.

He relocated from Geneva, where he headed the sales and marketing activities for the firm's institutional asset-management client relationships in Europe. Before that, he launched the Lombard Odier office in Paris in 2001.

Roulin says the firm does not have any specific targets for assets under management or headcount in the region, apart from the initial two staff, who will be hired locally.

"The situation was the same when I launched the Paris office," he tells AsianInvestor. "I was alone at the beginning with no specific targets, then five years later we had over 40 people. That's the comfort of being with a company that's not listed and is more than 200 years old -- we have a very long time horizon."

Lombard Odier will focus on marketing to institutional investors and fund selectors, such as the private-banking units of large banks, says Roulin. "We intend to work with a small number of big clients on highly specialised products, as is our usual approach."

The company's differentiating factor is its deep analysis of companies and ability to invest throughout the corporate structure from equity to credit to convertible bonds, he says. It specialises in instruments such as hedge fund and convertible bond type products, he adds, citing as examples the firm's global and Asian convertible-bond funds.

However, it hasn't won any mandates yet. As for a time scale for inking any deals, Roulin says: "We tend to think in terms of quarters than months. It takes time to be known and to know the needs of institutional investors."

There are currently no plans to hire or relocate any investment professionals in Asia-Pacific on the funds side, he adds.

He joined the company in 2001 as founder and managing director of its subsidiary in France. There, he built up an institutional client base and was also responsible for portfolio management for two years. He has also worked at both Crédit Lyonnais and Crédit Agricole, including a stint as head of French institutional investors at Crédit Agricole Asset Management.

Lombard Odier has been providing wealth-management services to high-net-worth individuals and families out of Hong Kong since 1987, Tokyo since 1992 and Singapore since 2007.