Dutch pension fund giant APG Asset Management has been busy adding to its China fixed income and Asia real asset desks, hiring four since September 1 to take the number of new investment recruits this year up to 10.
This development reflects how several of the largest global asset owners have been pressing on with Asian expansion amid the challenge of the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have continued to execute on our strategy to build out our footprint in the region despite the Covid-19 situation,” said Wim Hazeleger, Asia Pacific chief executive at APG, which manages some $630 billion of assets.
Of the 10 new appointments, just one is a replacement hire, he told AsianInvestor, declining to identify the individual who had left.
Three have joined the property desk, three the infrastructure team, one is appointed to the natural resources team and three started with the China fixed income desk. APG started to build the latter two teams in around October last year at the same time that it was setting up new offices in Beijing and Shanghai.
“We have also hired a number of additional support staff across various teams, increasing total staff [headcount] this year by 20%,” Hazeleger said.
Remarkably, given the Covid-19 crisis, all this is in keeping with Hazeleger's plan set out in October last year to AsianInvestor. He had said he planned to add another 10 or so to the then 42-strong investment team in Asia during 2020. At the time they had managed €22 billion ($26.2 billion) of APG's €69 billion of Asia Pacific exposure.
The fund's most recent investment hire, Jade Tan, started on December 1 as portfolio manager for research on the private real estate team. She was previously an associate director for Asia Pacific real estate research at Invesco, which declined to comment.
Tan joined Hannah Bao and Sean Kim, who had come on board as real estate analysts on September 1 and July 20 respectively. Bao was a graduate hire, while Kim was formerly an analyst for private equity real estate capital raising advisory at M3 Capital. The Chicago-headquartered property investment firm did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
The three new property recruits are based in Hong Kong and report to Graeme Torre, Asia Pacific head of real estate at APG.
Kyle Lee started on November 1 as a senior analyst for natural resources from HSBC, where he was an analyst for M&A advisory and infrastructure.
A separate trio joined the Asia Pacific infrastructure team during August and September. They are senior analyst Patrick Liu, formerly an analyst for infrastructure and real estate at HSBC; assistant portfolio manager Fiona Chou, previously a senior associate at Singapore-based private equity firm Sin Capital; and assistant portfolio manager Lei Chen, previously an investment manager at Hong Kong-based infrastructure asset manager Jida Capital Partners.
HSBC, Jida, M3 and Sin Capital did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Meanwhile, the China fixed income team saw three hires in April and May, all reporting to Gregory Suen, head of China fixed income. New Shanghai-based portfolio manager Chris Ding had previously worked at in Shanghai as a credit analyst at Fidelity Investments, which declined to comment.
In Beijing, Liu Chang and Gloria Gao came in as senior credit analysts. Liu was previously an investment manager at Sino-US United Metlife Insurance, and Gao a senior fixed income analyst at Bosera Asset Management. Sino-US United declined to comment, while Bosera did not respond to queries sent late in the Hong Kong evening yesterday.
APG further underscored its commitment to the region in October by unveiling a partnership with Korea’s $650 billion state retirement fund, the National Pension Service, to focus on mega real asset deals.
The Dutch institution is not alone in strongly ramping up its capabilities in Asia. Large Canadian retirement funds, for instance, have been active in line with their long-term ambitions to ramp up their allocations to the region.
Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan opened an office in Singapore and added its first Asia Pacific head of infrastructure in September. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and Ontario Municipal Employees’ Retirement System are both moving to strengthen their regional capital markets capabilities, among other areas.