Australian fund manager AMP Capital, which opened its Hong Kong office yesterday, has handed its international CEO Anthony Fasso additional responsibility for the firm's home client base.

The firm manages $125 billion in assets globally, of which Australia accounts for over 85%. It represents the first time this role will be performed outside Australia, which AMP Capital CEO Stephen Dunne says “reflects our commitment to being a long-term player in the [Asia] region”.

The appointment, which became effective last week, comes after Brian Delaney left to join government-owned QIC as its chief of global clients, products and marketing.

Delaney’s departure coincides with a strategic change at AMP Capital, bringing its international and domestic business together. The firm has been seeking to expand beyond its home base and is building an Asia presence out of Hong Kong.

Asked whether it was ideal to have a head of Australian clients based in Hong Kong, Fasso notes while Australia has traditionally been its biggest book of business, the fastest growing in terms of net cash flows has been outside of its home base, particularly Japan and parts of Europe.

He points out that AMP Capital sold a 15% stake to Mitsubishi Trust Bank this year in a formal tie-up. “Hopefully our Japanese business will be more of a major contributor in future,” he adds. “Don’t get me wrong, we still want to grow in Australia, but in terms of increasing the size of our cash flows, the opportunities are bigger in North Asia and Japan.”

The expanded role means that all of AMP Capital’s Australia client business will report into Fasso, including institutional, retail, marketing and products.

Dunne describes the establishment of AMP Capital’s office in Hong Kong as a landmark, a process that started in 2004. On June 1 this year the firm launched a global infrastructure bond in Japan and he says further product launches in Asia will happen over time.

AMP Capital manages $45 billion in fixed income globally via about 35 investment professionals, primarily based in Australia. The aim is to expand into Asian fixed income, and while organic growth is the preference, it is also open to acquisitions, says Dunne.

The firm recently hired Kerry Ching from Fidelity as a managing director for Asia, and her focus will be on taking the firm’s capabilities to institutional investors in the region, largely sovereign wealth funds, large pension funds, endowments and insurance companies.

Ching confirms she will be looking to bring more institutional sales people on board, initially specialising in specific areas but eventually covering the region. “The turnover in Hong Kong is high, we want to breed a team with comprehensive coverage,” she says.

The appointment of Delaney at QIC was announced this Monday. He takes responsibility for QIC’s product, sales, client service and strategic marketing functions and reports to QIC chief executive Damien Frawley. Delaney was business director of clients, product and marketing at AMP Capital.