Kenneth Kwok skips from Deutsche to UBS

UBS poaches Kenneth Kwok from Deutsche Bank as president, Greater China for the investment bank, responsible for delivering products to its ultra wealthy private bank clients.

UBS has hired Kenneth Kwok from Deutsche Bank to help it sell investment banking products to its wealthy private banking clients.

Kwok, who is a veteran of the region’s investment banking industry, is charged with delivering the Swiss bank’s full suite of products and services, with a focus on the investment bank’s products, to ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients and, specifically, to those clients covered by the global family office that UBS recently created.

He will report to Alex Wilmot-Sitwell and Chi-Won Yoon, who share the chairman and CEO role for Asia-Pacific.

Kwok is the first person hired for this role in Asia, although sources close to the situation say this initiative is already underway globally and will gain traction in Asia as well. Kwok will work closely with various UBS division heads and the global family office team.

This is not the first time Kwok has stepped into a newly created role. He joined Deutsche in October 2009 in a similar position, in which he was responsible for delivering the bank’s global institutional sales-and-trading platform to UHNW private clients. He lasted nearly two years in that job, but spent 17 years at Goldman Sachs before Deutsche, working in various parts of the bank, and was head of corporate sales for Asia ex-Japan at the time he left.

It is no surprise that Kwok is in demand. During his time at Goldman, particularly his last role, he clearly had the chance to work with a number of the region’s wealthiest families and this experience is invaluable for banks that want to grow their private banking business in the region.

In an internal memo announcing Kwok’s appointment, which FinanceAsia has seen, UBS said: “The Greater China region is one that offers enormous market opportunities and business potential. Success in covering this region is critical to our franchise in Asia.”

Kwok is currently on gardening leave and will join UBS on July 1. Sources said Deutsche has not appointed or hired anyone to replace Kwok. Deutsche declined to comment.

UBS also last week announced a slew of appointments and hires for its equity capital markets business in the first sign that Sam Kendall, who was recently promoted to head of equity capital markets (ECM) for the region, is putting in place his own structure. Kendall was previously head of equity syndicate for Asia.

Stuart Mackay has taken charge as head of ECM for Southeast Asia, effective immediately, responsible for “increasing the intensity of our client coverage”, said UBS in an internal memo signed by Kendall. Mackay will be based in Singapore and reports to Kendall. Mackay joined UBS in 2009 as head of equity syndicate for Asia and then became head of ECM origination for Asia (ex-China) with a focus on Southeast Asia.

Catherine Vannavong will be joining UBS as a director with responsibility for Hong Kong and Taiwan ECM. She joins from Bank of America Merrill Lynch where she was a vice-president in the prime brokerage team. Vannavong started her career at Goldman Sachs and has also worked at Deutsche Bank.

Yusun Chung has been transferred to Hong Kong from Seoul and will be responsible for Korean ECM on a full-time basis. Chung is a director who started at UBS covering debt capital markets for Korea and then was promoted to cover ECM as well.

And, as we reported on April 6, Chris Lau will start at UBS on May 3 as associate director in the syndication team.

“These changes will bring structure and stronger accountability to the ECM business,” said Kendall in the memo.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.

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