Standard Chartered Private Bank announced yesterday it has hired former senior HSBC banker Desmond Liu as head of Hong Kong and Northeast Asia.

Liu started in the role last week based in Hong Kong, and is tasked with leading the strategic direction of the firm’s private banking business in Greater China and Korea.

He comes in to fill a role vacated by Stephen Richards Evans, the former Northeast Asia head who was transferred to Dubai in October 2010 to serve as head of private banking for the west, which includes the Middle East, Europe and the UK.

In the interim the Northeast Asia position had been filled by Rajesh Malkani, head of private banking for the east, which includes Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia and India.

Liu now reports to Malkani, as well as to Mary Huen, head of consumer banking for Hong Kong.

“[Liu’s] addition is part of our effort to build a strong Greater China hub for our clients,” says Malkani in response to AsianInvestor queries. 

“The bank recently announced its plan to invest HK$1 billion to turn the Forum [an office block in Central, Hong Kong] into our Greater China private banking hub.”

Previously Liu was North Asia private banking head at HSBC Private Bank, where he managed the Greater China region, Japan, Philippines and India (offshore).

However, he quit HSBC in August this year after Bernard Rennell was promoted to chief executive for North Asia in November last year. Rennell was appointed above Liu in what was then a newly created role.

Prior to this Liu was head of private banking for North Asia and Greater China at DBS Bank Hong Kong. He also currently sits on the corporate advisory board of the Hong Kong Securities Institute.

Andy Chan, a spokesperson for HSBC Private Bank, did not respond to AsianInvestor queries seeking comment on whether it had appointed a replacement for Liu. The group has been undergoing $3.5 billion of cost cuts, although emerging markets remain its priority.