Southeast Asia head Liechti departs Coutts

Manfred Liechti has left after two years amid a restructuring. His responsibilities are given to Ranjit Khanna, while the firm aims to announce a regional head of products and services within two weeks.
Southeast Asia head Liechti departs Coutts

UK private bank Coutts has seen its market head for Southeast Asia, Manfred Liechti, depart on the back of a restructuring, with his responsibilities handed to someone else, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Liechti had been with the firm for two years, having joined in March 2010 with market responsibility for Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. He was based in the Lion City.

AsianInvestor learned he cleared out his desk this week. And yesterday Coutts announced that Ranjit Khanna, its Singapore-based interim Asia head of products and services and global head of non-resident Indians and South Asia business, had been newly promoted.

Khanna now has the title head of South Asia, and tellingly his remit now includes Singapore and Southeast Asia. He will oversee a 100-strong team based mostly in Singapore, including bankers and front-line support staff. He also retains leadership for Coutts’s NRI business.

A spokesperson for Coutts in Singapore confirmed that the firm expects to announce a new head of products and services for the region in the next few weeks, at which point Khanna will relinquish this role.

It comes on the back of a structural reorganisation after the firm dropped RBS from its title in a rebranding exercise. As revealed by AsianInvestor last month, Coutts hired Timothy Chia as Asia chairman based in Singapore. The role that had remained dormant since former joint-CEO of RBS Coutts, Hanspeter Brunner, left the firm late in 2009. Brunner had also acted as Asia chairman.

Chia had been vice-chairman of UBS investment bank for Asia since January 2009 in a largely advisory role and he left UBS in September last year.

Following Chia's arrival, Coutts announced shortly afterwards that it had hired Errol D’Souza from UBS Wealth Management as its new chief risk officer for Asia. He has responsibility for a 40-strong risk team spread across Singapore, Hong Kong and India.

The Coutts hierarchy in Asia now is Nick Pollard as CEO, followed by Chia as Asia chairman and Paul Davies as vice-chairman for Southeast Asia. Khanna is head of South Asia, while Iggy Chong is now Hong Kong head, having previously been appointed North Asia head in 2010 following Esther Heer's exit.

Liechti could not be reached for comment by press time. Prior to Coutts he worked at UBS for 24 years, most recently as head of financial intermediaries for Asia-Pacific, according to his LinkedIn page. He also had roles as country head for Indonesia and regional sales manager for Southeast Asia.

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