Man who left HSBC five years ago returns as Hong Kong MD

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Andrew Lau, who was investment counsellor (IC) head at HSBC’s private bank until 2014, has returned to the firm in Hong Kong and landed a promotion to managing director. He’s also stepped away from pure investment advisory and is now desk head for the Hong Kong market, leading a team of relationship managers, says a spokesperson for HSBC.

Lau spent the past five years as an executive director at Credit Suisse. Prior to his IC stint at HSBC (2010 to 2014) he was head portfolio counsellor at Citi in Hong Kong for almost six years, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Moving from investment counselling to an RM-lead role is “not typical, but not that unusual either,” says former Merrill Lynch private banker Rahul Sen, now a global leader in private wealth management at search firm Boyden. “There have even been instances where ICs have moved to pure RM roles,” he adds.

Although Lau doesn’t come from an RM background, his “knowledge of managing teams makes him equipped to manage RMs and help them to manage their clients’ investments”, says Sen.

Lau’s move is part of a wider push by HSBC, announced last September, to add about 650 new staff (including relationship managers) in Asian private banking, mainly in Hong Kong and Singapore. Recent senior hires include Kaykay Yan, who worked at JP Morgan for 12 years, and joined HSBC Private Banking in Hong Kong as a managing director in March.

Last year HSBC added 71 RMs in Asia, more than any private bank in the region apart from UBS, taking its banker headcount to 541, according to Asian Private Banker.

Some of HSBC’s Asian private banking hiring is now focused on the ultra-high-net-worth segment. HSBC announced in March that it has launched – and will expand – an UHNW team in Asia, serving clients who have assets of about $30m or more. As we reported at the time, this means that HSBC’s RM hiring is expected to target the likes of UBS, JP Morgan and Lau’s former firm, Credit Suisse, which all boast established UHNW units.

Wealth management and private banking roles in Asia are unlikely to be affected by the 4,000 global job cuts that the bank announced earlier this month.

Image credit: danielvfung, Getty

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