SG's private bank boosts Russia desk in Asia

The French firm has expanded its Russian-speaking coverage to the region through a recent senior appointment in Singapore.
SG's private bank boosts Russia desk in Asia

Société Générale Private Banking has strengthened its focus on Russian clients in Asia with the hire of its first Russian speaker to the region’s international desk.

Garry Frenklah joined in May as a senior director in Singapore, responsible for developing the Russian and international client segment in the region. He is part of the international team in Asia, of which the Russia desk is a subset.

The Singapore desk is part of the global Russian-speaking team, the other desks being in Geneva, London, Monaco and Zurich. SG PB’s global market manager for Russian clients is Jean-Gabriel Arqueros, based in Geneva.

The private banking business in Asia is led by SG PB’s Asia-Pacific CEO Olivier Gougeon, and serves Asian and international clients out of its Singapore and Hong Kong hubs.

The group also has a substantial presence in Russia through its ownership of Rosbank, one of the 10 leading banks in the country.

Most recently, Frenklah was a managing director at the Royal Bank of Scotland, where in 2006 he set up the equity/foreign exchange/precious metal derivatives private bank sales desk for Hong Kong and Singapore. He then established and headed the structured investor products business for South Asia out of Singapore.

Frenklah left RBS in September 2011 and before joining SG PB was involved in a personal capacity in various private-equity, private-placement and real-estate deals.

His banking and finance career started in Australia in 1993, and he moved to Asia in 1996, holding senior roles with Salomon Brothers, Barclays Capital, HSBC Securities and SMBC Capital Markets in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore. He has serviced investors across all asset classes on both investments and liabilities.

There have long been links between Asia and Russia in terms of energy and commodity flows, but wealthy Russian investors – like those elsewhere – are increasingly looking to allocate and store capital in Asia. Equally, interest and awareness is rising among Asian investors of the potential return from Russian assets.

One recent example of the strengthening relations between the regions is a new landmark Russia-China private-equity investment fund launched by political leaders in Beijing. Collaborating in the venture are China’s $440 billion sovereign wealth fund CIC and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, a $10 billion vehicle set up by the Russian government last year.

Growing Russia-Asia flows are also reflected by the third AsianInvestor/FinanceAsia Annual Russia & CIS Investment Summit that will take place on 5-6 July. It will examine the trade and investment opportunities for Asian investors across all asset classes.

A Forbes Insight report published earlier this year in conjunction with SG PB – titled Global Wealth and Family Ties – also offers some insight. Real estate attorney Edward Mermelstein, founder of Mermelstein & Associates, estimates that some $80 billion has left Russia in the past year, and about 5% to 10% of that has ended up in the US.

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