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Deutsche Bank Asia CEO picks Singapore base in snub to Hong Kong
[HONG KONG] Deutsche Bank new Asia chief executive officer (CEO) will be based in Singapore, picking the city over Hong Kong at a volatile time for the Chinese territory.
Alexander von zur Muehlen, the new CEO for Asia-Pacific, is relocating from Frankfurt when he takes over the job at the start of next month, according to a bank spokesperson. His predecessor, Hong Kong-based Werner Steinmueller, is retiring at the end of July. Kamran Khan, the bank's new head of environmental, social and governance for the region, will also be based in Singapore, moving from the US.
The decision comes as Hong Kong is embroiled in unprecedented political turbulence after more than a year of anti-government protests and now in the cross-hairs of a broader fight between US and China. In an intense rivalry with Singapore, Hong Kong has long been a hub for Asian finance, with nearly all of the major global banks, including Goldman Sachs Group, JPMorgan Chase & Co and Citigroup, having their top regional executive in the city.
It won't be the first time the German bank has had a CEO based in Singapore. From 2012 to 2016, the Asian business was run by co-CEOs Alan Cloete and Gunit Chadha, who worked out of Hong Kong and Singapore, respectively. The two were replaced by Mr Steinmueller in 2016, the first management board member to be based in the fast-growing region, according to the press release.
"We remain committed to our dual-hub structure in Asia Pacific," a Hong Kong-based spokesperson said.
Singapore has been one of the major hubs for Deutsche Bank's commercial banking and fixed income services while its wealth management, corporate finance and asset management is predominately staffed out of Hong Kong. The German bank is exiting its equities sales and trading operations globally.
Helman Sitohang at Credit Suisse Group and UBS's Edmund Koh are the only Asia heads based in Singapore among global banks. Barclays Asia head Jaideep Khanna is operating out of India. Morgan Stanley's co-Asia CEOs, Gokul Laroia and Wei Christianson, work out of Hong Kong and Beijing, respectively.