Major financial groups including JPMorgan and HSBC are sending their private banking chiefs to Asia to focus on opportunities lying in the region, a media report has said.

Attributing to people familiar with the matter, the Financial Times said, HSBC is in advanced discussions to move Chris Meares, the global head of its private bank, from London to Hong Kong to capture the region’s growing wealth.

Further, the report said that Douglas Wurth, head of JPMorgan’s international private banking unit, moved from New York to Hong Kong this week.

“Asia is at the forefront of our international strategy and where we want to focus,” the report quoted Wurth as saying.

“The amount of wealth being created in China, India and south-east Asia is incredible,” Wurth added.

JPMorgan manages about $450 billion in private banking assets, while HSBC has more than $400 billion under management.

Interestingly, JPMorgan manages half of its private banking assets outside the US.

Citing Merrill Lynch and Capgemini, the report said the Asia-Pacific region has more than 2.4 million millionaires with combined wealth of $7,400 billion. The region is expected to overtake North America as the world’s largest pool of wealth by 2013.

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