Credit Suisse names SE Asia private banking head

The bank appoints Francesco de Ferrari as market area head of private banking for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Meanwhile, Julius Baer appoints Peter Siber as chief risk officer for Asia and the Middle East.

Credit Suisse has created a new position to improve its Southeast Asia private banking coverage, transferring Francesco de Ferrari from Italy to take on the role of market area head for Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

De Ferrari takes over a region that is particularly important to Credit Suisse. In Indonesia, for example, it has traditionally reaped the benefits of strong, long-term relationships and is widely considered the strongest private bank in the country. Indeed, rivals often say that private banking relationships are a consistent source of investment banking business for Credit Suisse in Indonesia.

But its private banking business in Singapore is even bigger – bigger, in fact, than any of its private bank operations anywhere outside of Switzerland. De Ferrari will be based in Singapore when he starts the new role on August 1.

De Ferrari’s position is a new senior leadership role in Asia that will be “focused on leading the teams to leverage the close economic and demographic convergence among these three-largest Southeast Asian markets”, according to a Credit Suisse spokesperson, who added that its private banking franchise in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore “contribute significantly to our regional client and asset base”.

The market area head role is not new to Credit Suisse private banking, said a source, as the Swiss bank is successfully using this model in its private banking business in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), where economic areas are similarly clustered.

De Ferrari is currently chief executive officer of Credit Suisse private banking for Italy. His successor has not yet been announced. In the new role, he will report to Marcel Kreis, who heads Credit Suisse’s private banking business in Asia-Pacific.

In a written statement announcing de Ferrari’s appointment, Credit Suisse said: “In this new strategic senior leadership role, de Ferrari will further develop Credit Suisse’s wealth management business in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, driving client inter-connectivity and advancing market share. He will enhance the bank’s ability to capitalise on the synergies and business opportunities across these three key markets, leveraging Credit Suisse’s integrated banking franchise, for the benefit of its clients.”

De Ferrari joined Credit Suisse in 2002. He has held a variety of roles since then, including chief operating officer (COO) for private banking for EMEA, based in Zurich, and country COO for Italy.

This is the latest move by Credit Suisse to fine-tune its Asia coverage model. In the middle of last year, it put in place a pan-regional structure whereby 10 heads of markets or regions report directly to Kreis. The market heads include Johanes Oeni, who is in charge of Indonesia; Jullie Kan for Malaysia; and Benjamin Cavalli for Singapore.

At the time, Credit Suisse said the structure was changed to empower market leaders with greater ownership, accountability and responsibility for the businesses in their region. As a result of the reorganisation, three other regional heads, in addition to the 10 market leaders, now report to Kreis: Francois Monnet, who is head of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UNHWI) across Asia-Pacific markets except Greater China; Anuj Khanna, who is chief operating officer for Asia-Pacific private banking; and Tee Fong Seng, who was poached from UBS in 2009 as vice-chairman of UNHWI for Asia-Pacific and subsequently also became private banking CEO for Singapore.

A Credit Suisse spokesperson confirmed that Oeni, Kan and Cavalli will now report to de Ferrari. This will reduce the direct reports into Kreis, which may have been a reason for creating de Ferrari’s role.

Credit Suisse has 360 relationship managers in private banking across 11 locations in Asia-Pacific and manages SFr78.5 billion ($84.8 billion) of assets in Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Sydney and Shanghai. The bank emerged strong from the financial crisis in 2008, with the result that it has booked SFr125 billion of new assets worldwide since then. Of this, SFr12.4 billion was booked from clients in Asia. Net new assets from Asian clients have been growing at around 20% a year, which makes Asia the fastest-growing region across Credit Suisse’s global network.

Meanwhile, another Swiss bank, albeit a boutique private bank in this instance, last week announced a transfer as well. Peter Siber has taken on responsibility for risk management in Asia and the Middle East at Julius Baer, and will have the title of chief risk officer. He is also a member of Julius Baer’s executive committee for the same region and head of the risk committee in Singapore. This is a newly created position at Julius Baer.

Siber transfers from a role in credit in Julius Baer in Zurich to take on his new responsibilities. He reports regionally to Thomas Meier, chief executive for Asia and the Middle East, and functionally to Bernhard Hodler, group chief risk officer.

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