Sarasin Rabo Investment Management has appointed Stella Kong to the newly created position of vice chairman for Greater China.

In this role, Kong will lead SarasinÆs strategic development in Greater China, which is in line with the firmÆs bid to expand and strengthen its wealth management business in Asia. Kong reports to Enid Yip, who is vice chairman for Asia. Both are based in Hong Kong.

Sarasin Rabo Investment Management is a unit of Swiss private banking institution Bank Sarasin, which has as its core activities investment advisory and asset management services for private and institutional clients, as well as an investment funds business. The bank, which has other services that extend to corporate finance and financial analysis, manages around SFr84 billion in assets worldwide.

Yip notes that Bank Sarasin has a ôstrong, long-term commitmentö to Asia, of which China is obviously a very important part.

ôWhile the existing regulatory environment makes it challenging for a bank of our size to operate a full-fledged subsidiary providing Swiss-style banking services in China at this moment,ö Yip says, ôwe are naturally interested in creating awareness of Swiss banking in this growth market.ö

As a private bank with a history of more than 160 years, Bank Sarasin is counting on its experience in Switzerland and other markets to help it expand its China market.

ôSwiss banks have an advantage in China. They are perceived as special and reliable and are appreciated for their discretion,ö Yip says.

Bank Sarasin met with the China Banking Regulatory Commission recently, and is in the process of mulling its next steps on the mainland. ôWe are obviously always assessing whether to create a small presence, such as a representative office, as part of our ongoing strategic evaluations,ö Yip says. ôWe have not, however, formed a final decision at this moment.ö

Bank Sarasin also wants to help with educational efforts that will help deepen the private banking industy in China, Yip says.

Meanwhile, Kong was most recently head of private banking for China at ABN Amro. She first joined ABN Amro in 1999 as private banking head for North Asia and was instrumental in building the business there. Prior to ABN Amro, Kong was head of the Taiwan team and deputy head of private banking at Deutsche Bank, where she worked for five years. She was also head of the Taiwan team at the Union Bank of Switzerland for three years.