Mercer to rebuild Asia wealth team after departures

The third and final member of the group’s Singapore-based wealth management consulting team left last week, but new hires are planned.
Mercer to rebuild Asia wealth team after departures

The last remaining member of Mercer’s three-strong wealth management consulting team in Singapore moved on last week, but the investment consultancy plans to rebuild and strengthen in this area.

Iris Kao, principal consultant on the team, left the firm earlier this month, with a source saying she has joined a private bank. She had previously been principal for Asean, reporting to Hansi Mehrotra, Asia-Pacific head of wealth management (WM) consulting.

Mehrotra left in December to set up a WM venture in her native India, and her departure followed that of analyst Desmond Lee, who exited Mercer around August.

Now based in Mumbai, Mehrotra had been with the consultancy since October 2003, initially as head of WM for Australia. She was promoted to the Asia-Pacific role in 2007 and relocated to Singapore in 2010.

Mercer says it is looking for an Asia head of wealth management and plans to scale up the business.

“We continue to firmly believe in our services to the wealth management industry both regionally as well as globally,” says Cara Williams, global head of wealth management and technology solutions at Mercer in London. “We are looking to further expand the team rather than reduce it.”

The firm had established a dedicated Asia-Pacific WM consulting team in early 2010, as first reported by AsianInvestor. The division offers institutional-level advice to private banks and the like in areas such as asset allocation, funds research and risk management.

Mercer then announced in January this year that it would integrate its investment consulting and investment management divisions globally. This also meant changes to the WM structure.

Jeff Schutes was named global head of manager research and WM, with Williams reporting to him. The reorganisation also saw Stephen Roberts become head of investments for Asia-Pacific and Simon Eagleton appointed Australia and New Zealand market leader for investments.

Mercer says the changes were “designed to meet the changing needs of its institutional and wealth management clients and to better enable the firm to effectively advise clients in a period of challenging market conditions”.

Phil de Cristo, president and group executive of investments, said at the time that Mercer is “investing in its capability to serve the wealth management market”.

Elsewhere, the group has WM teams in Boston, London, Sydney and Zurich.

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