SuMi Trust, Japan’s biggest trust bank, has closed its asset services business in Hong Kong and transferred those functions to Tokyo, say sources.

Joost Lobler, former Asia ex-Japan head of sales, and Alvin Chan, former senior manager of client relationships and business development for Asia ex-Japan, left the global asset services unit in late July, AsianInvestor has learned.

Lobler set up the asset services business for Daiwa Securities three-and-a-half years ago, before Sumitomo Trust Bank (SMTB) acquired it in November 2012.

Relationship management, client support and sales are now being dealt with in Japan, a source close to SuMi Trust said, leaving little asset servicing capability elsewhere in Asia.

A spokesman confirmed SuMi Trust is restructuring its global asset services. He said the firm is focused on providing more comprehensive coverage for its Asian clients.

After taking over Daiwa's trustee and fund administration business and all its clients and around 200 employees, the entity became SuMi Trust Global Asset Services.

Following the acquisition, Lobler had told AsianInvestor the firm planned to expand its Hong Kong operations to offer investor services and fund accounting for all its offshore Asian clients.

He hired Chan in June last year from Chinese bank ICBC, where he had worked in the custody department. By press time AsianInvestor could not ascertain Chan's or Lobler's next move, nor could they be contacted.

“They bought this company with very high expectations that they could bring in big business within a short period, but that hasn’t happened,” a source said.

“When you are a new name in the market in Asia, it’s not like the large funds will do business with you. It takes time. Maybe assets under administration and revenue growth were disappointing for them.”

In October 2012, just prior to the Daiwa unit acquisition, the bank had rebranded as SuMi Trust. It had been formed earlier that year from the merger of Chuo Mitsui Trust and Banking Company, Chuo Mitsui Asset Trust and Banking Company and Sumitomo Trust and Banking.

The group managed assets of $497 billion as of June 30. Outside of Tokyo it operates offices in Beijing, Hong Kong, London, New York and Singapore.