Amundi's Jovanovich retiring, Ebrahim taking his place

Amundi’s long-serving CIO, Ray Jovanovich, is retiring, and HSBC’s Ayaz Ebrahim is joining to run Asia equities.

Ray Jovanovich, Asia CIO at Amundi in Hong Kong, is retiring and moving back to his native United States to pursue personal projects.

Ayaz Ebrahim, currently CIO at HSBC Asset Management in Hong Kong, has just resigned in order to join Amundi in an expanded role that will include serving as equities investment director for Asia.

Jovanovich is a well-known figure in the region. He has been an outspoken investor of considerable experience, as well as a commentator on public affairs for the likes of CNN.

He may even be best known for his daily sports broadcast on Radio Television Hong Kong.

Jovanovich moved to Hong Kong in 1987 as a research analyst and joined Credit Agricole Asset Management the following year. He helped lead the company to develop closed-end funds investing in Asian markets for European investors, and was promoted to Asia CIO in 2002. He retained that role when CAAM acquired the asset-management business of Société Générale in 2009 to create Amundi.

From the time Jovanovich took the CIO job, the CAAM Asian equities business rose from $3 billion to around $14 billion today.

The plot thickens. The person whom Jovanovich had succeeded as Asia CIO in 2002 was Ayaz Ebrahim, who had been a fund manager at CAAM since 1991, and its Asia CIO since 1997. He left in 2002 to join HSBC Asset Management, where he ran money and at times served in a more executive role when he was CEO of Halbis, a company that for a time represented the firm’s actively managed portfolios.

With Jovanovich retiring, Ebrahim has decided to return to old haunts, but with a bigger title. He will also have a more client-facing role as deputy CEO for equities and balanced mandates, reporting locally to Thierry Mequillet, Amundi’s Asia CEO, and to the global head of equities, Paris-based Romain Boscher. Philippe Jauer, Asia CIO for global fixed income, and his deputy Patrick Chia, will continue to oversee the bond portfolios for Asia.

Mequillet, who worked with Ebrahim when he was a fund manager at CAAM, says although there is some familiarity, Amundi is a much different business today than CAAM in the 1990s. Ebrahim had to compete with other candidates for the job. He says Ebrahim is expected to start later this month.

Ebrahim says, “HSBC’s a great business and it’s growing, but the role at Amundi fits my skill-set, as it includes both the investment side as well as building AUM.”

He won’t be able to replace Jovanovich in entirety, however: Ebrahim isn’t taking on the sports announcer role at RTHK. “I can talk about cricket, but nothing else,” he jokes.

At HSBC, Ebrahim had reported to London-based Chris Cheetham, global CIO. The firm will need to find a replacement.

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