Schroders names Asia head of private banks and global financial clients

Schroders has appointed Zal Devitre as Asia head of private bank distribution and the global financial client group (GFCG), AsianInvestor can reveal.

Having joined in Singapore on April 11, Devitre reports to Showbhik Kalra, head of intermediary and product for Asia Pacific.

A spokesman for Schroders told AsianInvestor that Devitre's role was newly created.

Schroders decided to combine its private bank distribution and GFCG efforts in the region, "to allow the firm to provide more holistic client coverage and also enable individuals to broaden their responsibilities", he said.

Devitre will lead the combined team, which comprises four people – two in Singapore and two in Hong Kong. There are no immediate plans to expand the team, said the spokesman.

He did not respond to a query about who oversaw the regional private bank and GFCG teams.

Devitre was most recently head of investments at Citibank in Singapore. Citi could not answer queries about his replacement by press time.

NAB sells private wealth business to OCBC

National Australia Bank (NAB) announced on May 11 it had agreed to sell its private wealth business in Singapore and Hong Kong to Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Bank (OCBC).

The deal involves a $1.7 billion mortgage portfolio and a $3.05 billion deposit portfolio, with about 11,000 customers across Hong Kong and Singapore. The transaction is expected to be completed before the end of 2017.

NAB said the sale allowed the bank to maintain its focus in Asia on business, corporate and institutional customers. OCBC said the strategic rationale behind the purchase was to grow the bank’s mortgage loan business and broaden its client base.

NAB’s mortgage and deposit portfolios in Hong Kong will be transferred to OCBC Bank’s wholly-owned subsidiary OCBC Wing Hang in Hong Kong. The assets in Singapore will be transferred to OCBC.

The two banks didn’t explicitly answer AsianInvestor’s query on the possible job cuts following the sale. But an NAB spokesperson said: “There will be opportunities for staff to apply for roles with OCBC. The impacted staff will also be given the opportunity to apply for other NAB roles."

CMA management buyout of WTW's global wealth solutions buisness

Charles Monat Associates (CMA), a Hong Kong- and Singapore-based insurance broker for high-net-worth clients, said on May 9 it had agreed to a management buyout to buy the global wealth solutions business of Willis Towers Watson, subject to regulatory approval. The acquisition cost was undisclosed. 

CMA’s group chief executive, Yves Guélat, launched the wealth business for Willis Towers Watson in 2012. There will be no senior departures following the deal, a spokesperson said.

Outside Asia, CMA has offices in Liechtenstein, Miami and Zurich.

Amundi replaces Hong Kong COO

Amundi Asset Management has named a new chief operating officer for Hong Kong, AsianInvestor can reveal. Helene Soulas joined the French fund house’s Hong Kong office as COO on April 1.

She replaces Jean Luc-Karlin who has been appointed as senior adviser to the Hong Kong chief executive of Amundi, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Before being appointed Hong Kong COO, Soulas was head of middle office reporting for stocks, subsidiaries and funds' annual reports with Amundi Paris. Her previous position has been filled, the spokesperson said, but did not say by whom.

Credit Suisse PB head of investment and product exits

Rajesh Manwani, Credit Suisse's Asia-Pacific head of investment solutions and products (ISP) for private banking, is to step down from his role in early June, according to an internal memo seen by AsianInvestor

As a result, each ISP vertical will be integrated into the group's broader products and solutions business within private banking in the region, as overseen by SJ Hwang.

The following team heads, who previously reported to Manwani, will report directly to Hwang:      

  • Bernard Fung, head of wealth planning services for Asia Pacific
  • Donald Rice, head of alternative investments for Asia Pacific
  • Rodolphe Larque, head of funds and ETFs for Asia Pacific
  • Tan Wei Mei, head of portfolio solutions for Asia Pacific

Meanwhile, the functions of investment management, chief investment officer, private banking research for Asia Pacific and wealth planning for Hong Kong will continue to have a dotted line reporting to Hwang, while also reporting to their respective units in the ISP organisation in the international wealth management division. 

Peter Ryan-Kane resurfaces

Industry veteran Peter Ryan-Kane, who left his post as Asia-Pacific head of portfolio advisory at Willis Towers Watson in early April, as first reported by AsianInvestor, has founded an investment consulting firm, PeRK Advisory.

Ryan-Kane told AsianInvestor that he set up the firm in late April and has so far gained two clients. The firm provides advice on internal investment processes and institutional investor communications. Currently a one-man shop, PeRK may hire more staff as needed, he said. 

Ryan-Kane added that he was speaking to a number of potential partners and existing advisory firms about opportunities to work together.

He remains a board member of the g7+ Foundation, a UN initiative focused on the development of conflict-impaired nations, a role he was appointed to in October 2016.

Transamerica Life appoints Asian commercial chief

Transamerica Life (Bermuda), an Asian life insurance provider for high-net-worth individuals, has appointed Mike Goodall as its regional chief commercial officer, effective April 3.

In this newly created role, Goodall is responsible for all sales and distribution, and marketing functions across the company’s branch offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. These functions were previously looked after by different individuals, who remain in their roles, according to the company. Goodall's role is newly created to cover all of them, a spokesperson said.

He reports to Marc Russell Lieberman, president and chief executive of Transamerica Life Bermuda.

Prior to joining Transamerica Life Bermuda, Goodall was head of insurance at Citibank Australia, where he was responsible for managing Citibank’s life, credit and P&C insurance business. Citi didn't respond to a query about his replacement by press time.

Indosuez WM adds senior director

Indosuez Wealth Management has appointed Ezena Mok as senior director, effective May 5, as the Credit Agricole-owned business continues its regional buildout

Ezena is the fifth senior banker recruited by Indosuez WM in Asia this year. She reports directly to Piera Au-Yeung, team head and deputy chief executive of the Hong Kong branch. 

The other four senior bankers are Stanley Yeo and Radhika Jasuja, who joined as senior directors in Hong Kong; Lynda Leong, a senior director in Singapore; and Prad Goswami in Singapore.

Mok worked most recently at ANZ Private Bank Hong Kong. ANZ sold its Asian wealth business to Singaporean bank DBS late last year.

Willis Towers Watson adds insurance consultant in HK

Willis Towers Watson has appointed Matt Houghton as senior consultant of strategy in its insurance consulting and software business in Asia Pacific.

Based in Hong Kong, Houghton is an addition to the team, which saw the appointment of Kevin Angelini as head of strategy in January. Houghton reports to Angelini.

Starting on March 21, Houghton’s focus is to provide consultancy services to the insurance industry on strategic development, distribution and M&A.

Before joining Willis Towers Watson, Houghton was head of strategic transformation at AmMetLife Insurance, a joint venture in Malaysia between MetLife and AmBank Group. AmMetLife didn't respond to a query about his replacement by press time. Houghton has also worked with AXA in Hong Kong, and with Aviva, Ernst & Young, and HSBC in the UK. 

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor in the past week:

AMP Capital dismantles Asian equity team

Value Partners shakes up leadership team