APG Asset Management Asia has confirmed that Ajay Cherian, managing director of global emerging markets equities and Egon Vavrek, director of global emerging markets equities are no longer with the fund.
“Ajay Cherian and Egon Vavrek have left APG,” a spokesperson for the fund told AsianInvestor.
Cherian had been with the fund for nearly 15 years and was most recently APG’s head of global emerging markets strategies.
Cherian played a key role in guiding the Dutch asset manager’s equities strategy throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. He focused on long-term assumptions of returns between different asset classes to drive the firm's allocation process in Asia.
His counterpart Vavrek also spent over a decade with APG and was in his position as director of global emerging markets equities since 2019.
Vavrek has over 20 years’ experience investing in EM equities and team-management. He’s also experienced in ESG integration and responsible investing.
Both men were based in APG’s Hong Kong offices before leaving the fund on August 31.
While the spokesperson for APG did not respond to AsianInvestor’s query on the reason for the departures or on replacements for them, they did say the recent events did not detract from APG’s mission in the region.
“We have been a long-term investor in Asia since we established our regional headquarters in Hong Kong in 2007,” said APG’s spokesperson.
“We remain committed to the region as we continue to deliver sustainable returns and impactful investments for our clients. Our Emerging Market Equities team remains based in Hong Kong,” they added.
APG revealed in a June article with the Financial Times that its clients are thinking twice about investing in China, amid increasing geopolitical risks.
According to the FT, Thijs Knaap, chief economist at APG Asset Management stated that concerns about China are mounting among its pension fund clients.
APG is still heavily invested in China, which is part of its emerging markets equity holdings. The fund also has exposure to real estate and private debt within the region. The exact value of APG's China exposure has not been disclosed.
While still at APG in 2021, Cherian told the AsianInvestor the Dutch fund does “not drive specific exposure on any country within the emerging market pool as this is driven by different factors.”
“APG has investments in China through both internal and external strategies as well as a mix of fundamental and quantitative. Our weight in any one country is determined by changes at each of the underlying strategies which is itself driven by different investment process,” he said.
Nonetheless, this shift in sentiment towards China is also being observed among other large institutional pension funds, as tensions with the US contribute to growing concerns.