In the opening salvo of a restructuring at Bank of Bermuda’s fund services business, Paul Smith has been promoted from head of global fund services for Asia to the position of global head, replacing Luis Douglas, who retired after serving at the bank for 34 years. The bank has $89 billion under administration worldwide.

Early next year, Bank of Bermuda’s global funds services business will announce a restructuring that will scrap the regional heads of Asia, Europe and the Americas in favour of a global executive board and country heads. As such, there will be no replacement for Smith’s current role.

“The emphasis is that in Hong Kong there will be continuity,” he says. “There is a strong staff here.”

Smith says Bermuda’s experience of having three strong regional businesses has impeded its ability to serve clients as efficiently as possible on a global level. It has simply added an extra layer of management, and operations and new businesses have not grown evenly across the organization. Smith says by scrapping regional heads, Bermuda should provide more consistent service for hedge funds, private equity funds and pension funds.

Within Asia, Smith’s agenda for next year is to help clients with their first year as Mandatory Provident Fund service providers in Hong Kong, and open an office in South Korea. “That’s enough for 2001,” Smith says. Bermuda has long been seeking an entrTe into Korea. For two years it has had a consultant, American Hank Morris, scouring the streets of Seoul for deals to get into the fund services business. After several false dawns, with the Korean stock market now in the dumps and restructuring in full swing, potential partners are talking seriously. Smith says he is positive that a deal can be finalized in the near future.

Smith assumes his global role in January, at which point other members of a global executive team will also be named. He has been with the bank since 1996, after serving 11 years at Ermitage Group, where he reached the position of group managing director.