Pictet hire

Pictet picks up former Credit Suisse private banker Anuj Khanna

After months of market speculation, Anuj Khanna turns up at Pictet.
Anuj Khanna,Pictet
Anuj Khanna,Pictet

Swiss private bank Pictet & Cie announced last night that it had hired North Asia wealth management veteran Anuj Khanna as head of wealth management for South Asia. He will be based in Singapore and starts January 9.

Khanna joins Pictet from Credit Suisse, where he was Asia-Pacific chief operating officer (COO) for private banking until mid-August. He first joined Credit Suisse in 2006 as the head of private banking for North Asia and then a year ago became COO.

At Pictet, Khanna succeeds Stephane Schmid, managing director and senior private banker, who Pictet said will hand over his management responsibilities to focus on serving clients.

We reported in March on the changes Credit Suisse was making to its private banking coverage after the bank transferred Francesco de Ferrari from Italy to take on the role of market area head for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. This model, already in effect in its  private banking business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (Emea), is  relatively new to Asia. Then in July, the bank announced that Marcel Kreis will be chairman of  private banking Asia-Pacific and Ferrari will become head of private banking Asia-Pacific effective January 1, 2012. As is often the case when new approaches are  taken, this has led to a bit of a shake-up in upper management. Witness Khanna’s departure.

Pictet, meanwhile, has been operating in Asia for more than 25 years, but has definitely been making a more visible push during the past few years. Structured as a partnership, it presents itself as the alternative to bigger banks that are criticised (rightly or wrongly) for too often pushing in-house products. And, in this era of bank-bashing, being an open-architect, smaller player with veteran specialists such as Khanna can be a selling point as a boutique tries to capture more market share.

“Anuj’s appointment is timely as Pictet has grown steadily in South Asia over the last year,” said Claude Haberer, head of Pictet wealth management Asia. “Bankers and clients alike recognise the unique partnership model of Pictet — while we are one of the biggest and most stable banks in the world, we are very specialised, focused on wealth and asset management for our clients and independent of the potential conflicts of being part of a larger financial institution.”

The rise of boutiques has been a boon for veteran private bankers. If they don’t like the landscape in their office, there’s room to jump ship and often for a sizable chunk of change. It’s also been a boon for clients in Asia, who typically have more than one private banker and are known for playing one off the other for best deals. So for now it seems everyone is happy. But as boutiques expand and the bigger players show no sign of giving up their turf, and clients continue to press for more, it’s clear something has to give — the question is what and when.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.
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