RBS Coutts has become the latest Asian private bank to set up a family office, having established a purpose-built institute and appointed Roger Low from Singapore Management University to run it. He was one of three senior hires unveiled by the firm yesterday.

The Coutts Institute in Singapore is designed to advise clients on family business, philanthropy and next-generation planning, issues that have become priorities for high-net-worth individuals in a region where most wealth is first-generation money built up over the past 20 years.

Noting that the institute adds a new dimension to its holistic suite of services, RBS Coutts’ Asia CEO Nick Pollard adds: “These issues will increasingly come under the spotlight as Asia undergoes one of the largest intergenerational wealth transfers in memory over the next decade.”

Most recently Dr Low taught family business and entrepreneurial management at the university, and according to a bank statement, has almost 20 years’ experience working in family businesses in the service, manufacturing and distribution industries.

A number of private banks and wealth management firms in Asia have introduced family offices. Credit Suisse launched a hub in Singapore and appointed Bernard Fung as its head this year.

Citi Private Bank named Richard Straus to lead its family office business out of Hong Kong and its newly established office in Singapore, covering both North and Southeast Asia.

And Swiss bank UBS established a regional family services unit headed by Yan Lau to cater to the needs of ultra-high-net-worth clients mostly based in Hong Kong and Singapore.

Separate to its family office announcement, RBS Coutts – which is the private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland – also announced that Belinda Lee from UBS had been appointed Asia head of strategy based in Hong Kong, while Bradley Tyson from ANZ bank was named head of change for Asia based in Singapore.

Lee has spent the last five years in the group strategy function at UBS, where she became Asia-Pacific head of strategy. She has previous stints in investment banking and private equity.

According to a statement from RBS Coutts, Tyson has extensive experience in leading business transformation initiatives, having spent over 14 years in a variety of senior roles at ANZ in business and sales management.

A bank spokesman explains that the ‘change’ team plays a key role in implementing strategic initiatives across the organisation, supporting among other things product delivery, regulatory change and functional programmes.

“The trio of appointments underlines our continuing focus to take the Asia business to the next level and deliver on our growth agenda,” adds Pollard.

Last year RBS Coutts committed to a five-year strategy of doubling its Asian assets under management, which at the time stood at about $16.5 billion. The spokesman says the firm has about 490 staff in Asia.