UBS has strengthened its wealth management team in Asia-Pacific, and specifically its coverage of the ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) segment, through a combination of internal moves and external hires.

Amy Lo has been promoted to head of UHNW in Asia-Pacific. Currently regional market manager (RMM) for Hong Kong as well as head of UHNW in Hong Kong, she has two decades of experience in wealth management. Lo will report to Kathryn Shih, chief executive officer of wealth management for Asia-Pacific, and to Josef Stadler, who heads UHNW globally.

Francis Liu and Jean Claude Humair will jointly take on Lo’s earlier Hong Kong role. Both will report to Allen Lo who will become CEO of wealth management for Hong Kong from January next year.

Liu will join in December this year from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, where he has spent 18 years in a number of roles across Asia-Pacific. He was most recently head of Greater China based in Hong Kong and supervised in excess of 160 financial advisers in the Greater China markets. In this role, he has been responsible for establishing Merrill Lynch’s key client coverage model for markets across Asia-Pacific, as well as the firm's joint business venture initiatives in Taiwan and China, which has expanded the bank's North Asia footprint.

Humair is currently head of wealth management for Japan at UBS. His replacement has not yet been announced.

Carlo Grigioni
Carlo Grigioni, who has been covering the day-to-day responsibilities of the UHNW business in Asia-Pacific (which Lo is now taking over) since 2009 in addition to his current role as vice-chairman of wealth management and the Swiss bank, is now moving solely to a client role. In his new role, his focus will be on deepening the relationships with UHNW clients in the region, and driving top-line strategy for this segment. Grigioni, who is a member of UBS's senior leadership, relocated from Switzerland to Singapore in early 2007 for his second stint in the region. He was previously based in Singapore between 1984 and 1993. He was appointed vice-chairman of wealth management in January 2004.

UBS has also appointed Susan Co as senior adviser to the UHNW business. Co is currently RMM for Indonesia and the Philippines. She will report to Grigioni and Christine Ong, CEO of UBS wealth management for Singapore. Co’s appointment underlines UBS's commitment to UHNW clients, said the Swiss bank in an internal memo, as she will dedicate her full attention to deepening the bank's relationships in this segment in the region.

UBS manages SFr300 billion ($310 billion) of assets globally for UHNW clients. Asia makes up 30% of these assets and is UBS's fastest growing market for ultra-rich globally. The bank is targeting annual growth of between 10% and 20% in the UHNW business over the next three to five years. Of the 1,000 client advisers UBS has in Asia, one-third serve the UHNW segment.

In another UBS wealth management move, Philip Kunz is joining in November as regional market head for South Asia. Kunz, who was most recently at HSBC where he was regional head of wealth management, will report to Ong. He has previously also worked at Clariden Leu, ABN AMRO private bank and Credit Suisse and, in all, has 25 years of wealth management experience.

In addition to strengthening its coverage team, UBS is also being forced to reorganise to fill gaps being created by the poaching of its staff by other wealth management firms. UBS and Credit Suisse were early to establish wealth management businesses in Asia and thus are the obvious poaching grounds for firms that are setting up or enhancing their focus on the region now. Last month boutique Swiss private bank Lombard Odier appointed five senior relationship managers in Hong Kong, of which four were hired from UBS. And, in early September, BoA Merrill lured Michael Benz from UBS to head Merrill Lynch wealth management for the Asia-Pacific region, replacing Antony Hung who resigned.