RBS has recruited Thomas Siegmund from UBS as APAC head and Singapore country executive, its second major Asian hire in just the past few weeks.
Siegmund joined NatWest Markets, the sales and trading brand that now represents RBS’s pared-down business in Asia, earlier this month, according to his public profile.
His move follows that of Jae Jun Lee, Standard Chartered’s former head of structured and illiquid credit sales for Hong Kong and Korea, who is now a Hong Kong-based managing director at RBS.
The two hires suggest that RBS still has the capacity to occasionally attract expensive senior front-office staff in Singapore and Hong Kong.
RBS, which remains owned by the British government, has been chipping away at its business in Asia since 2009 when it sold some of its retail, wealth and commercial units to ANZ. In 2015, it withdrew from Asian corporate banking, reducing its regional headcount from about 3,000 to 200 as it refocused on its core UK market.
Veteran Siegmund was a managing director at UBS in Singapore for almost eight years, firstly as head of FICC trading and sales for APAC (2010 to 2014) and then in a group internal audit, investigation and analysis role. His experience of both the front and middle offices likely appealed to RBS as it searched for someone to lead its Asian operations.
Siegmund started his career in 1992 at Merrill Lynch, where he worked for seven years in fixed-income trading in London, Frankfurt and Tokyo. He then moved to Lehman Brothers and spent nine years in the same field in London and Tokyo, latterly as an MD.
He transferred to Nomura and relocated to Hong Kong in 2009 – as co-head of fixed income sales, trading and structuring for Asia ex-Japan – following the Japanese bank’s acquisition of Lehman’s Asian franchise.
While RBS is now a niche player in Asia, Siegmund has at least made his move at a time when parts of its business are performing (comparatively) well globally. In 2017, revenues across RBS’s macro business (the combined rates and foreign exchange trading desks) rose 5% on 2016, outperforming UK rivals Barclays and HSBC.
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