) -- European banking leader



is moving a senior executive to a new role in what appears to be focus on catering to wealthy Asian customers.

Paul Thurston, currently managing director of HSBC's U.K. business, is being appointed chief executive of retail banking and wealth management and will relocate to Hong Kong. In the role Thurston will have responsibility for directing HSBC's retail banking business globally and will "lead the development" of HSBC's retail wealth management business, according to a company statement.

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"With the massive wealth creation we see in emerging markets today, the logic for HSBC to build a world-class global wealth business for our customers is absolutely compelling," said Stuart Gulliver, designated to become HSBC's Group Chief Executive

Gulliver was named chief executive after

a major management shakeup in September when current CEO Michael Geoghegan quit after being passed over for the chairman's spot at the bank.

HSBC is one of several global banks that are looking to Asia for new business, especially as rapidly growing local economies create new middle and upper class customers. Earlier this year

JPMorgan Chase

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said it

plans to increase the number of client advisors in Asia by 40% .