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Vontobel Reshuffles Financial Products Team In Asia, Continues Regional Push

Radhika Badiani

8 August 2014

Swiss bank Vontobel has hired Thomas Süssli and Eugene Lee to its financial products business team in Singapore, contining a series of moves by the firm to expand its Asia footprint.

Süssli will head the management of Vontobel Financial Products, taking over from Fredy Flury who returns to his original function in financial products risk management in Switzerland. Süssli was previously at Credit Suisse.

Meanwhile Lee becomes head of sales with responsibility for the local sales activities of financial products as well as Deritrade MIP – the multi issuer platform for structured products. He previously worked for JP Morgan.

"With their outstanding track records and experience, Thomas Süssli and Eugene Lee are ideally qualified to lead the further expansion and strengthening of our Financial Products business in Singapore,” said Roger Studer, head of Vontobel Investment Banking.

Among recent developments at the firm, in early July, Vontobel appointed top-ranking former Societe Generale banker Alex Fung as chief executive of its private wealth management business in Asia. The bank also announced seven additional team members for the region. Fung assumed responsibility for the private clients business in Asia as of 24 June and he also took over as CEO of Vontobel Wealth Management in Hong Kong, thereby replacing Jing Zhang Brogle. Previously, Fung was CEO of Société Générale Private Banking for Hong Kong, North Asia and Greater China. He is based in Hong Kong and will report to Vontobel’s head of private banking, Georg Schubiger.

While the statement did not mention this, the move comes in the wake of the sale earlier this year by SocGen of its Asia private banking business to DBS, the Singapore-headquartered banking group. It is probable that the deal will see a number of SocGen private bankers move on.

Client assets at Vontobel reached SFr172.7 billion ($190 billion) at the half-way stage of 2014, rising 6 per cent from the end of last year, driven by what it said was its successful hook-up with Asia’s ANZ and positive asset performance. Pre-tax profit of SFr88.8 million was unchanged from the same period a year ago. When calculated on an IFRS basis, the net profit was SFr73.5 million. Because of tax issues, the figure fell 3 per cent on a year ago, but up sharply – 59 per cent – on the second half of 2013. The result translates into a normalised return on equity of 13.3 per cent.