Lee Yuen Kuen moved from Mayban Investment Management to CIMB Private Banking in early March last year as its first chief investment officer, with a mandate to build the investment team, as reported by AsianInvestor.

But in October he rejoined Mayban IM, which is part of Malaysia's Maybank group and manages the investment portfolio of Etiqa, Maybank’s insurance and takaful arm. Lee came on board at the same time as new Mayban IM chief executive Nor' Azamin bin Salleh, who replaced Abdul Kadir Sahlan after he left in mid-2010 to join Tabung Haji, the Malaysian pilgrimage fund.

Lee’s remit at CIMB Private Banking, part of Kuala Lumpur-based CIMB Group, had been to form macro strategies from which the team would derive micro strategies in terms of asset allocation. There had also been plans to further expand CIMB Private Banking's investment team.

CIMB Private Banking did not respond to queries about whether Lee had been or would be replaced.

Meanwhile, Maybank is hoping to make inroads in the wealth management market, having announced last week that its wholly owned subsidiary, Aseam Credit, is set to acquire a 44.6% stake in Kim Eng, a Singapore-based stockbroking firm.

The S$798 million deal will give Maybank a “key asset” in the regional wealth management market, in addition to “definite advantages” on the wholesale banking side, says the group, which intends to privatise Kim Eng if it can obtain the rest of the outstanding shares. Acquisition of 100% of Kim Eng would cost Maybank S$1.79 billion.

The bank adds that if it can take Kim Eng in-house, it will be able to offer its high-net-worth clients across the region access to a stockbroker with extensive regional operations.

Kim Eng says it is the number two broker in Singapore by market-trading value, and number one in Thailand and Indonesia, as well as a major player in the Philippines and an established firm in Hong Kong.

Research firm Datamonitor estimates that the number of affluent individuals in these markets – those with more than $1million in investable assets – grew by 12% in 2010.

Maybank says Kim Eng’s regional strength will compliment its banking presence in the region, where it is a major player in Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines and its home market of Malaysia.