Hong Kong-based AIA has appointed a new head of investment solutions, adding to a raft of recent high-level portfolio management personnel moves in the insurance sector.

Trevor Persaud took up the role this month, following a 25-year career spanning asset management, insurance and consulting, most recently as an independent consultant in Singapore. His LinkedIn page suggests he will be splitting his time between Hong Kong and Singapore.

A spokeswoman for the insurance giant confirmed the appointment but declined to provide further details. 

Benjamin Deng, AIA's previous head of investment solutions and derivatives, left after some 18 years with the firm to join Shanghai-based China Pacific Insurance in September as chief investment officer (CIO).

Trevor Persaud

Like Deng, Persaud will presumably be involved in creating asset and liability management solutions for the general account portfolio and report to group CIO Mark Konyn.

However, Persaud's overall job description will be somewhat different from Deng's, said a source familiar with AIA. 

Persaud declined to comment for this article.

His appointment comes as AIA, which had $186 billion in assets under management as of June 2018, has been building out a centralised regional investment hub in Singapore. 

It also closely follows several other high-level moves in Asia, including Jethro Goodchild joining FWD as Hong Kong CIO, HSBC Insurance hiring Mark Wang as group CIO and Prudential naming a CIO for Taiwan.

INDUSTRY CHALLENGES

The insurance industry in Asia is facing major challenges, from rising cost pressures and prevailing low yields to new regulations such as risk-based capital rules and incoming reporting standards IFRS 9 and 17. In response, some industry players have been revamping their investment setups and/or allocations, including AIA, AIG, Singapore's NTUC Income and Prudential.

Persaud is well versed in such developments. For the past year he worked as an independent consultant advising insurance firms, and before that as head of insurance for Asia in the financial institutions group at Standard Chartered Bank.

Persaud has spent the last decade in Asia and has experience working on the investment side. He has served as head of investment risk and performance with the Singapore business of UK life insurer Prudential, as head of performance at London-based Insight Investment and as global head of investment risk and performance at Schroders.

He has also done stints at specialist management consultancy Stradegi and Russell Investments.

Persaud is an adviser to the Investment Management Association of Singapore and chair of its risk and performance committee.

This story has been updated to indicate where Trevor Persaud will be based for the new role.

AsianInvestor will host an insurance investment forum in Hong Kong on March 12 and one in Singapore on March 14, which will be attended by CIOs, portfolio managers and other industry experts.