Bank of Singapore loses NRI team to Sarasin
The chief executive of Bank of Singapore says he won’t lose sleep over the departures of at least 14 private bankers covering the non-resident Indian (NRI) segment in Hong Kong.

They joined Swiss private bank J. Safra Sarasin in early March, and sources say more are expected to follow from BoS’s NRI teams in Dubai and Singapore.

The most senior addition is Patri Bhimasena Rao, who joins in the newly created role of market head of NRI, having been head of North Asia at BoS. Another senior hire is Bhakti Mathur, who reports to Rao and had been executive director on BoS’s India desk since 2010.

Sarasin has made a total of 15 new NRI team hires, 14 from BoS and one from JP Morgan Asset Management. The roles include an investment consultant, with the rest joining as relationship managers or assistant RMs.

It was also reported in February that Nagendra Yelandur had left his post at BoS in Hong Kong as alternate chief executive and global head for the India subcontinent. He was previously with ING Asia Private Bank, before it merged with OCBC’s wealth business to create BoS in January 2010.

Renato de Guzman, BoS CEO, tells AsianInvestor: “Staff movement is not uncommon in the private banking business. Given the nature of the private banking business, which values teamwork, it is also not uncommon for staff to leave in teams.

“We regret the departure of our bankers from the India subcontinent team, but like any prudent organisation, we are prepared for any staff movement," he notes.

“Our servicing model, which sees clients being served by teams of specialists in addition to relationship managers, ensures that our clients can obtain timely and accurate information to make financial decisions without overreliance on any individual staff.

“Therefore, while it is disappointing to see bankers leave, it is not something I would lose sleep over,” he says.

We have re-organised the teams and today it is business as usual as we continue to service our clients,” de Guzman adds, without giving further detail.

Separately, Ken Leung has been promoted to Hong Kong branch manager at J. Safra Sarasin. Leung, who joined the bank in 2006, has been deputy branch manager since March 2010. Sarasin could not provide an answer by press time as to who was HK branch manager previously.

Lombard Odier names new Asia CIO
Pranay Gupta has left his post as Asia chief investment officer of Lombard Odier Investment Managers and been replaced by Jean-Louis Nakamura, formerly CIO for asset allocation at the Swiss firm.

Nakamura has relocated to Hong Kong from Switzerland to take up the role; he will also assume the post of deputy global CIO.

Lombard Odier has been building out its investment and wealth management team in Asia since Gupta’s arrival, with another relatively recent addition being Todd James as regional head of investment services, who joined last year. James has held similar Hong Kong-based roles at firms including Swiss private bank BSI and HSBC Private Banking.

Lombard Odier also hired its first chief operating officer and chief risk officer for the region last summer – Fred Horsey and Christophe Morel, respectively.

Gupta is said to be working on various things, including setting up a hedge fund out of Los Angeles. He had been with Lombard Odier since January 2012, before which he was Asia-Pacific CIO for ING Investment Management.

Western promotes Lian to EM debt head
Fixed-income house Western Asset has promoted its head of Asia investment, Lian Chia-Liang, to global co-head of emerging market debt as part of a succession plan.

Lian will serve as co-head alongside Keith Gardner, who intends to retire in April 2016, after nearly 22 years with the firm. Lian will split his time between Western’s headquarters in Pasadena, California and its Singapore office until 2015, when he will move permanently to the US.

Succeeding him will be senior portfolio manager Desmond Soon, who will become co-head of investment management for Asia in April, until Lian moves fully into his new role.

RBC WM’s Asia head departs
Andrew Turczyniak has left his post as head of Asia at Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management this month, having taken up the role in August 2011.

Singapore-based Barend Janssens, head of emerging markets, will absorb his responsibilities, with the regional heads in Asia now report to Janssens.

AsianInvestor could not ascertain Turczyniak's next move.

Matthews Asia hires China investment strategist
San Francisco-based Matthews Asia has hired Andy Rothman to the newly created role of investment strategist for China, effective March 10.

He was most recently China macroeconomic strategist at Hong Kong-based equity brokerage CLSA, where he had spent 14 years. Rothman left CLSA on February 28, and his coverage has been taken over by Francis Cheung, head of China and Hong Kong strategy.

T. Rowe Price names Australia equities trader
T. Rowe Price has hired Richard Nelson as an equities trader based in Sydney covering Australia and New Zealand. He reports to head of Australia equities trading Randal Jenneke.

Before joining T. Rowe Price, Nelson was head of trading for Europe, the Middle East and Africa at AllianceBernstein.

T. Rowe Price could not be reached for comment by press time on whether Nelson's role is newly created or he has come in as a replacement.

Other people news reported on this week:

M&G wins Hong Kong licence, adds staff

BNY Mellon IM loses intermediaries head

Transitions industry woes persist

BlackRock lures China strategist from Goldman

Central banker named new CIO at KIC