LGT Bets on Tech Revolution in Asia

Liechtenstein's LGT is one of the fastest growing asset managers in Asia. Naming a chief of technology in Hong Kong underlines its ambitions.

There are two main trends in the Asian private-banking market: First, the hiring of new customer consultants to stay abreast with demand for asset management services.

Second, the introduction of a digital process management, helping banks to cope with rising volumes and to efficiently deal with regulatory demands. State-of-the-art technological solutions are also particularly important in Asia, because customers tend to be keen on tech and gadgets.

Prince Max on Hiring Spree in Asia

LGT may not belong to the top foreign private banks in Asia, but certainly to the fastest growing. The bank of the principality's first family boosted assest under management to 20 billion francs from 8 billion francs since 2009 – and expects to continue to grow at a similar rate. LGT Chief Executive Prince Max announced in spring that he would continue his hiring spree in Asia and add as many as 20 customer consultants.

Weidmann MarkusLGT now has created an important position in a key area: Chief of technology for Asia. It selected Markus Weidmann (pictured below) for the job, said the online news service «Asian Private Banker» on Tuesday (article by subscription only).

In Line With Private-Banking Trend

Technology Chief Weidmann will be based in the city of Hong Kong and direct the technological development of the principality's bank in all of Asia. The specialist in information technology and economist by training joined LGT a year ago, working as account manager in Liechtenstein. Before joining LGT, he was an IT consultant at Aleana.

The new tech chief will report directly to Henri Leimer, chief executive officer for Asia. LGT will continue to organize its IT solutions from Liechtenstein, but the creation of a head of tech nevertheless is in line with a trend in Asian private banking. Banking institutes are investing heavily in technology platforms and fintech applications, hiring new people to deal with those tasks.

Swiss Pioneers

Swiss banking giants Credit Suisse (CS) and UBS are prominent among foreign companies to do so. CS, the third-biggest Asian wealth manager is one of the pioneers of digital private banking and operates an innovation laboratory in Singapore, opened 18 months ago. Only in March, CS launched an application for Asian private-banking clients.

UBS pulled level in June, opened its own innovation laboratory called Evolve, also in Singapore. Evolve will develop applications for UBS customers. The bank recently hired James Aylen to head the operations, while Ketan Samani will focus on his role as chief technology officer.

Shagar Shenoi, who hitherto was chief digital officer for UBS Wealth Management in Singapore, also joined the Evolve outfit.

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