Until last year Michiel Steenman was one of the highest profile ECM bankers in the region. Having run ABN AMRO Rothschild's equities business, he then moved to Jardine Fleming and then JPMorgan when JF was bought. He left the firm in 2002 after deciding against taking a top position in the London ECM team.

He has now started his own wealth management company based in Geneva, with an ex colleague Gijs Sandberg, to be called Sandberg Steenman. The firm will run discretionary wealth management accounts for high net worth individuals with assets of between $1million and $20 million. The firm's investment approach is described as 'global diversified allocation'. Steenman explains that this means that "we will look at all asset classes - from commodities, to bonds, to hedge funds, to equities - all over the world. We will not restrict ourselves."

Steenman claims that business has started well as he and Sandberg took with them several of their clients from wealth management company Van Daalen, where they both have been working for the past year. Growth in assets under management is expected to come from new European clients who are presently banking with mid tier private banks. According to Steenman, these clients have been badly served in the recent bear market and are ripe for new wealth management alternatives."The opportunity in this area is much bigger than I thought," he notes.

Wealth managemet is a bit of a departure for Steenman whose career in the primary equities market was studded with interesting deals. He recalls favourably a convertible for UMC that ABN did in 1997 which he says made over $50 million for the bank, including fees for the asset swap. He also worked on the Tracker Fund IPO and the KDIC bond that was exchangeable into pre-IPO shares of Woori and Cho Hung banks. Lets hope the 'flying' Dutchman can make as much money for his new clients as he did for his old employers.