Aberdeen Asset Management has hired Alex Kim to head business development for Korea.

Nicholas Hadow, head of business development in Asia, says the firm has lacked a dedicated Korea salesman for several years. Hadow has handled relationships with the biggest institutions himself, but the growing size of the market requires more hands on deck.

“The Korean institutional market is experiencing huge growth in assets,” Hadow says. “Beyond the biggest accounts, there is a large tail of other institutional investors diversifying overseas.”

And while the top investors employ English-speaking investment professionals, many of the second-tier entities do not. Therefore the firm needed a Korean speaker, who can handle everything from client presentations to reporting in that language.

Kim joins from Russell Investments, where he held a similar role. He is based in Singapore but will travel regularly to Korea. He has also been a salesman for ABN Amro Bank in Korea as well as served as a fixed-income salesman for Pimco in California.

Hadow says the fixed-income background is particularly helpful, because many institutional investors are looking at a variety of non-equity instruments, notably fixed income and real estate. And having worked at Russell, with its consulting background, is a further plus, he says.

For now, Kim’s job is focused on institutional sales. However, he is also tasked over the longer term to determine whether Aberdeen can enter the wholesale market. The firm has a retail business in several other Asian markets.

“Alex will look at whether we should have a strategy for the retail, or more accurately, the wholesale space,” Hadow says. This could involve acquisitions, but the firm is a long way from any such decision, he adds.