JP Morgan cuts 30 private bankers in Asia
JP Morgan Private Bank has cut 30 from its Asian operations, it emerged this week. Most were front-office staff and they included Edwin Lim, market manager for high-net-worth clients in North Asia.

The bankers were all focused on HNW, as opposed to ultra-HNW, individuals. The move was made in an effort to slim the bank’s cost base and return to its old strategy of banking the richest of the rich, our sister title FinanceAsia reported.

A JP Morgan spokeswoman confirmed that Lim had left but otherwise declined to comment on the cuts.

The firm had launched the HNW effort in 2010. Peter Flavel, hired in January 2011 from Standard Chartered to head that business in Asia, left in February to join London-based private bank Coutts as chief executive.

The latest announcement officially marks an end to JP Morgan’s attempt at HNW appeal. The Wall Street Journal reported in March that the bank had decided to re-focus on individuals with more than $10 million in assets.

This has led to 100 staff being laid off in the US and London. The cuts are part of a broader set of job cuts totaling 5,000 that were announced in May 2015.

Sarasin replaces Singapore CEO
Veteran private banker Benedikt Maissen is returning to Asia as chief executive of Singapore and Southeast Asia at Bank J. Safra Sarasin, effective April 1.

Maissen reports to Asia CEO Enid Yip and replaces Eric Morin, who left to become Asia head at UBP in May 2015, having joined the firm in January 2013. 

Maissen had been head of the Zurich branch of Societe Generale Private Banking since January 2014. Before that he spent 26 years working in Asia for Societe Generale and other firms, including Barclays and Deutsche Bank.

Southeast Asia co-head of private banking exits HSBC
HSBC Private Bank has named Sandeep Sharma as sole head of private banking for Southeast Asia, after Rob Ioannou, his former co-head, left to pursue other opportunities.

Based in Singapore, Sharma reports to Guy Harvey-Samuel, Singapore CEO at HSBC, and Bernard Rennell, Asia head of private banking. His appointment took effect on April 13.

Sharma joined HSBC Group in 2010 as business head for the Indian sub-continent team and had shared the Southeast Asia duties with Ioannou since 2014. He previously worked for Barclays Wealth in Singapore and Societe Generale Private Bank.

AsianInvestor was unable to establish Ioannou's next move by press time.

Natixis adds Asia structured credit department under Guesde
French bank Natixis has set up a global structured credit and solutions (GSCS) department for Asia Pacific, to be run by Fabrice Guesde in Hong Kong. 

Guesde has been with Natixis since 2006, most recently as head of credit and insurance solutions in Paris. He previously worked at Commerzbank and IT and tech company Econocom, according to his LinkedIn page.

The GCSC team will initially comprise Guesde and Alistair Ho, who retains his role as Asia-Pacific head of structured credit syndicate and origination. 

Guesde reports to Emmanuel Lefort, global head of GSCS, and Viet-Linh Ha Thux, head of fixed income for Asia Pacific.

Natixis said the creation of the new department would give clients in the region full access to its range of structured credit solutions. 
 
Citi's Keefe widens remit to Asia and financial institutions
Citi is moving Gerry Keefe, its corporate banking head for Japan, to Hong Kong, where he will become head of corporate banking for Asia Pacific.

The move will take effect in the second quarter of this year, and Keefe will report to Mark Slaughter, head of Asia Pacific corporate and investment banking, and Michael Roberts, global head of corporate banking. 

Agnes Liew, previously held the title of Asia-Pacific corporate banking head for the region, but only looked after corporate clients. She will move to a vice-chair role focusing on key corporate clients.

Keefe will not only oversee corporate banking activities in the region, but also financial institutions, public-sector entities and the global subsidiaries group, which provides financial services to top-tier multinational clients. The additional areas of coverage had previously reported into Slaughter.

The bank is seeking a replacement for Keefe in Japan.

Asifma hires head of policy and regulatory affairs
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (Asifma) has appointed Wayne Arnold as head of policy and regulatory affairs based in Hong Kong.

He replaces Rebecca Terner Lentchner, who joined BNY Mellon in November as Asia-Pacific head of government relations, after five years with Asifma, according to her LinkedIn page.

A former journalist with 25 years of experience in Asia, Arnold was most recently senior columnist at Barron’s Asia. Before that he was Asia economics correspondent at the Wall Street Journal and worked for Reuters from 2011 to 2014.  

He has also worked for Abu Dhabi newspaper The National, The New York Times and the International Herald Tribune.

Asifma has 90-plus member firms, which comprise banks, asset managers, law firms and market infrastructure providers.