RBS Coutts continues to hire in the region

RBS Coutts, the private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland, hires eight more bankers in Southeast Asia.

RBS Coutts, the international private banking arm of the Royal Bank of Scotland, announced yesterday that it has appointed eight new private bankers to its Southeast Asia team.

The bank has hired Bruno Merlino as team leader in Indonesia. Merlino joins from UBS in Singapore where he was an executive director and Indonesia desk head and will start with RBS Coutts on December 1. He joins RBS Coutts with 20 years of banking experience, the last 14 of which he has spent focusing on developing client relationships and leading private banking teams for UBS in Geneva, Zurich, New York, Hong Kong and Singapore.

Syed Al-Idid has joined the bank as a senior private banker and will lead a new team focused on developing the Malaysian market. He was previously with Credit Suisse Private Bank in Singapore where he was a senior relationship manager handling ultra-high-net-worth and high-net-worth clients.

Marco Fleischmann has joined the bank as a senior private banker in the Southeast Asia team covering the Indonesian market. He joins from UBS where he was previously desk head in the Indonesia team based in Singapore, and subsequently was appointed the chief representative of UBS AG, based at the UBS representative office in Jakarta.

Julian Chester recently joined the bank as a private banker covering the expatriate market in Singapore and Southeast Asia. He was formerly with Standard Chartered Bank Singapore where he also focused on expatriates.

Gwendaline Lim has joined RBS Coutts as a senior private banker from Hong Leong Bank in Singapore and is focusing on the Singapore and Malaysia markets.

Daniel Tang has joined as a private banker in the Singapore/Malaysia team. He is from United Overseas Bank in Singapore where he was managing relationships with Malaysian clients.

James Pang and Aaron Ng have joined as private bankers in the Thailand team. Both were formerly relationship managers at HSBC in Singapore.

“The new appointments will further reinforce the bench strength of the Southeast Asia team,” said Manfred Liechti, market head for Southeast Asia at RBS Coutts. “We will continue to recruit experienced private bankers to further strengthen our market presence and fuel the growth of our business in the region.”

“We have ambitious plans to double our business in Asia over the next three to four years and hiring is a key part of our growth strategy,” said Nick Pollard, CEO of RBS Coutts Asia. “We have made 150 hires in Asia over the past 12 months. These new hires -- a significant number by any measure -- underline our growth ambitions in Asia, which is still very much one of the fastest growing wealth management markets in the world.”

In October 2009, the Singapore office of RBS Coutts answered press queries about departures from the firm, noting that "a little more than 70 people" had resigned from the private bank. Of that total, approximately 20 were bankers, said a spokeswoman. Then, in May of this year, Esther Heer, RBS Coutts's head of private banking for North Asia, left the firm. RBS Coutts has appointed Ignatius KK (Iggy) Chong as its new head of private banking for North Asia. Heer joined Hanspeter Brunner, to whom she reported for some 13 of the 20 years that she was at RBS Coutts before he led the October 2009 exodus to join Swiss private bank BSI, part of Italian insurer Generali.

Since the beginning of 2010, the bank has made several senior executive appointments, including Norman Villamin as head of investment strategy for Asia and Ignatius Chong as head of private banking for North Asia in May. It also appointed Manfred Liechti and Ranjit Khanna, as market heads for Southeast Asia, and non-resident Indians and South Asia, respectively. Both are reporting to Paul Davies, head of private banking, South Asia.

In March, the bank moved Nick Cringle, global co-chief investment officer, from London to Hong Kong, a move it says is a reflection of the growing importance of Asia to its business. Another view is that Cringle needed to come to Asia to rebuild the business post the Brunner and Heer departures.

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