UBP moves into new HK office, builds Asia team
Swiss asset and wealth manager Union Bancaire Privee this week took up new digs in Hong Kong, has added two relationship managers (RMs) in Singapore and is working on strengthening its Greater China coverage.

The new Hong Kong office in Exchange Square Two in Central has space for 18 on the private banking side; the staff is expected to grow from six today to 10 by the end of the summer, said Stephan Repkow, Asia chief executive of UBP Private Banking.

The office also houses UBP’s Asian asset management business, but with a strict Chinese wall between the two divisions. The firm was previously housed in Central Tower.

Li Jian started on Wednesday as a senior RM in Singapore, having moved from rival firm EFG Bank in Switzerland, where she serviced Chinese clients. She reports to Repkow.

Li was most recently first vice president and RM at EFG, where she had been since late 2011 but which declined to comment on whether she will be replaced. She has 15 years’ private banking experience in Switzerland, having also worked for Credit Suisse, Banque Piguet and Credit Agricole Indosuez Suisse.

Her appointment is aimed to meet growing demand from Chinese clients, who are seeing Singapore as increasingly attractive as a wealth management centre and potentially also as a place to live, noted Repkow.

Also in Singapore, Tan Ee-Ling joined as an assistant RM in Singapore from Swiss private bank Julius Baer, which declined to comment on the departure.

Four more RMs are due to join in the coming months in Hong Kong and two more in the Lion City, including a senior hire to support the multi-family office that UBP launched recently, as reported.

UBP is developing its North Asia coverage out of Singapore as well as Hong Kong, with a growing focus on Greater China in particular, said Repkow. “We are now putting more resources into building a strong Greater China franchise.”

Vontobel hires ex-SG Private Banking Asia CEO
Boutique private bank Vontobel has named Alex Fung as CEO of its private wealth management business in Asia, effective June 24.

Hong Kong-based Fung reports directly to Vontobel’s head of private banking, Georg Schubiger.

Fung joined from Société Générale’s private bank, where he was most recently its CEO for Hong Kong, North Asia and Greater China. His departure from the French bank came after its Asia business was acquired by Singapore’s DBS in March.

He replaces Jing Zhang Brogle, who had “decided to focus on new tasks outside Vontobel, but will remain in close cooperation with the company”, the bank said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Fung was replaced by Jean-Francois Paquereau, who took over as CEO of Société Générale Private Banking’s Hong Kong office on June 10. The role is an addition to his position as regional corporate secretary, said a spokeswoman from Société Générale.

Paquereau reports to Olivier Gougeon, regional CEO for Asia Pacific.   

Vontobel manages assets of SFr163 billion ($182 billion) and has maintained a presence in Asia since 2008.

LGIM names new Europe/Mid East institutional head
UK-based Legal & General Investment Management has named Sarah Aitken as its new head of institutional business for Europe and the Middle East.

She is due to take up the post in September, and will report to Mike Craston, global head of distribution. Craston had replaced Hugh Cutler, who left in April after five years at LGIM. He is currently a managing director at alternative fund house Och-Ziff Capital Management.

Aitken was most recently head of distribution at Insight Investment Management, where she was responsible for client relationships, business development and marketing. Prior to joining Insight in 2005, Aitken worked at Merrill Lynch Investment Management, where she was head of institutional relationship management.

She left Insight in the summer of last year, and was replaced by Philip Anker.

Coutts appoints Alex Liddle as team leader
RBS-owned private bank Coutts has appointed Alex Liddle as a team leader for the Gulf Cooperation Council region, effective July 2.

Dubai-based Liddle reports to Ali Hammad, co-head for the Middle East, and Shiv Gupta, interim co-head for the same region.

A spokeswoman for Coutts declined to comment on whom Liddle replaced. He is expected to lead a team of 12 bankers.

He was most recently Barclays Wealth and Investment Management’s market head for Qatar, looking after key clients in the Middle East and North Africa.

“In terms of a replacement, Barclays WIM within the region is in growth mode,” said one person familiar with the move. “It's a case of one banker moving to another bank.”

Barclays declined to comment.

Walkers promotes investment fund lawyer to counsel
Offshore law firm Walkers has promoted Amelia Hall from senior associate to counsel for investment funds.

Hall joined Walkers' Hong Kong office in 2012 and has since specialised in corporate work with an emphasis on investment funds, private equity, joint ventures and listing. She advises firms, financial institutions, private equity houses, sovereign wealth funds and investment managers.

The group also announced the promotions of Timothy Haynes and Robert Foote, based in Hong Kong and Singapore respectively, to become partners in the firm's litigation practice.

Paul Aherne, based in Hong Kong, was promoted to partner in the firm's finance and corporate group.

Walkers now has 12 partners across its Asia offices.

Australia’s Profusion Group and Primary Asset Consulting merge
Australian headhunter firms Profusion Group and Primary Asset Consulting have announced they merged this Thursday.

The new entity is known as Profusion PAC and will trade as Profusion Group. A specialist arm of the company will carry out executive searches.

The merger of the former long-term rivals has created Australia’s largest provider of recruitment and executive search services for the banking and financial services, the company said.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor this week:

Morgan Stanley IM on intermediaries buildout