AIG Global Investment Group (AIGIG) has scored a coup by hiring veteran mutual fund industry professional, Saurabh Sonthalia, as part of its India fund management endeavours.

Sonthalia last held the position of executive vice president, head of strategy and business development at DSP Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, which he joined in May 2001. Sonthalia joins Ravi Mehrotra, former Franklin Templeton India president, at AIGIG. Mehrotra joined the firm in early 2006 as regional head.

AIG has announced a host of plans to expand its presence in India this year with the mutual fund business being first off the block. AIG already has life and general insurance joint ventures with the Tata group in India. In an application to India's Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), AIG said it would also be foraying into consumer durable finance, personal, auto and mortgage loans as well as credit card activities.

Sonthalia has spent the majority of his 16-year career at DSP Merrill Lynch in various capacities, although he left the firm in the late nineties to explore other opportunities. He returned to the DSP group as part of DSP Merrill Lynch Investment Managers in 2001.

Sonthalia graduated with an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad in 1990 and also holds a chartered accountancy degree. His undergraduate degree was in commerce.