Citi's made a major new Asian hire from UBS

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Citi's made a major new Asian hire from UBS

Citi has appointed UBS compliance head Aveline San as its chief compliance officer for Asia Pacific. While 2019 has so far seen a string of senior Asian compliance job moves, San’s is one of the most important to date, given the size of Citi’s business in Asia and the breadth of her responsibilities.

Citi is a massive universal bank in Asia, where it employs 60,000 people across 16 markets and generates about a fifth of its global profits – a higher proportion than other US banks. San, who is based in Hong Kong and joined Citi earlier this month as a managing director, therefore has a lot on her plate. Citi is expanding its private banking, wealth management and digital banking teams in Asia, and these units will demand additional governance support.

San had been with UBS more than 14 years, latterly as a managing director and APAC group head of compliance and operational risk controls, a role she took on in 2016. She also held several other senior positions at the Swiss bank, including head of investment banking compliance for North Asia, according to her online profile.

There have been other significant moves in Asia compliance over the past few months, albeit a rung down from San’s level. Joshua Pieterse joined UBS from Credit Suisse in January as APAC head of compliance and operational risk for its asset management unit. Citi itself has also been bulking up its Asia compliance team prior to San’s arrival. As we reported last month, it has relocated veteran Gretchen Goodall from New York to Hong Kong as Asia Pacific head of anti-money laundering.

Citi currently has 16 compliance vacancies in Singapore and seven in Hong Kong as well as scores of others across Asia (including 30 in the Philippines). While rank-and-file compliance hiring in Asia isn’t generally as strong as at its 2015 peak, AML is bucking the trend as banks step up their efforts to detect money-laundering activities in the wake of the 1MDB scandal.

If you want to join San’s team, a 2017 UBS video featuring her provides some clues about the people she potentially likes to hire. You’ll need to “stay ahead of the regulatory agenda”, be aware that Asia is imposing tougher AML and KYC standards that other regions, and understand how to manage the emerging risks created by technologies such as robotics and big data.

Image credit: Getty

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