• Raj Sriram, head of private banking, to take over his duties
  • BSI's clients included the Malaysian government fund, 1MBD

BSI SA, the Swiss bank being sold by Grupo BTG Pactual SA, said its head of Asia operations, Hanspeter Brunner is retiring.

Raj Sriram, head of private banking Asia, will take over Brunner’s responsibilities, the Lugano, Switzerland-based company said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. Sriram joined BSI in 2009.

Brunner, who turns 64 in April, will depart the unit, BSI Bank Ltd. Singapore, “in the upcoming weeks,” Valeria Montesoro, a spokeswoman in Lugano, said in an e-mail. He joined BSI in 2009 after leaving RBS Coutts Bank Ltd., followed by about 70 employees. In March 2010, he said he aimed to more than triple BSI’s assets under management in Asia to $10 billion by the end of 2015. The bank managed 92.3 billion Swiss franc ($92.5 billion) in 2014, according to its annual report. No breakdown for Asia was given.

BSI counted among its clients a troubled Malaysian government fund, 1Malaysia Development Bhd. 1MDB, whose advisory board is headed by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, has been the subject of overlapping investigations at home and in countries including Switzerland, the U.S. and Singapore amid allegations of financial irregularities. Both the premier and 1MDB have consistently denied any wrongdoing. BSI hasn’t been accused of wrongdoing.

Brunner, has spent more than 25 years in Asia, first with Credit Suisse Group AG and then RBS Coutts, according to BSI’s annual report.

BSI itself is going through an ownership change for a second time in two years. EFG International AG in February agreed to buy BSI in a 1.33 billion Swiss-franc deal that will create Switzerland’s fifth-largest private bank. BTG bought the Swiss private-banking unit from Assicurazioni Generali SpA in 2015 and is selling assets after former Chief Executive Officer Andre Esteves was arrested in November amid a widespread corporate corruption scandal. Esteves, who has since been released from jail, has denied any wrongdoing via his lawyers.

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