UBS Wealth Management has moved swiftly to announce the appointment of Alexander Kobler as Asia-Pacific head of investment products and services (IPS) in an internal transfer.

Effective immediately, Kobler has relocated to Hong Kong, having previously been the division’s head of investment advisory and key account manager for wealth management in Switzerland.

He fills the post vacated by Michael Benz who recently departed to join Bank of America Merrill Lynch as head of its wealth management division for Asia-Pacific.

Benz replaced Antony Hung who had headed the division at BoA Merrill since July 2008, but announced his intention to retire to pursue “alternative professional interests”.

UBS established its IPS unit in January 2010 as part of a structural reorganisation, bringing together specialists from various business divisions involved in product development, coverage/sales support and execution under a single roof. “The objective is to support our client advisers more systematically so that they can have direct access to UBS’s entire range of products and services,” the bank explained.

Kobler will be responsible for further strengthening the Asia-Pacific IPS team, which numbers several hundred, according to a bank spokesperson. “He will also be responsible for ensuring that global IPS capabilities are leveraged more systematically throughout the region,” according to an internal memo.

“As key account manager for wealth management Switzerland, Alex has capably established his ability to understand the needs of markets and our clients,” the memo added.

Kobler’s career spans almost 20 years, mostly with UBS. His previous roles at the bank include head of wealth management research, co-head of key account management and investment advisory, and head of IPS investment advisory.

UBS says his successor as head of investment advisory and key account manager for wealth management in Switzerland will be announced in due course.