Threadneedle hires Asia-Pac fixed income head
UK-based asset manager Threadneedle announced it had hired Clifford Lau in a newly created role as head of Asia-Pacific fixed income.

He joins from Pramerica Fixed Income, part of Prudential Financial, where he was in charge of the Singapore office. His appointment follows changes to Threadneedle’s fixed-income business designed to improve collaboration between separate parts of its platform.

Lau managed about $1 billion of Asian fixed-income assets at Pramerica, a firm he joined in 2000. He is set to start at Threadneedle on June 18 and will continue to be based in Singapore.

In addition, Threadneedle has hired Zara Kazaryan from G2 Capital Partners (formerly Alcantara Asset Management) as a fund manager for emerging market debt, based in London. Kazaryan has worked at the emerging market bond specialist since 2009, most recently as a portfolio manager responsible for long-only fixed income. She takes up her job at Threadneedle on July 2.

Worldwide, Threadneedle’s fixed-income team is made up of 42 investment professionals across emerging and developed markets. The firm manages over £28.5 billion ($44.3 billion) in fixed-income assets as at March 31 this year.

The recent restructuring included the setting up of a global macroeconomic strategy group to better integrate macroeconomic strategies across developed and emerging markets.

Faddy joins Credit Suisse AM to run Asia distribution
Credit Suisse announced the appointment of Christopher Faddy from Barclays Capital as head of non-Japan Asia distribution for its asset management arm.

He comes in as managing director and will be based in Singapore, reporting to Will Britten, Asia-Pacific head of distribution for asset management. He replaces Omar Cordes, who left in April this year.

Faddy will lead the distribution of investment management services and solutions targeting sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors and third-party distribution channels in non-Japan Asia.

Previously he was Asia head of distribution for Barclays’ asset management business but exited in March. Prior to that he was an executive director at Goldman Sachs JBWere, managing key account sales in the asset management business between 2004-2010. He also worked for Skandia Asset Management from 2001-2004 as a senior business development manager.

Credit Suisse’s asset management business had SFr403 billion ($414 billion) in AUM globally as at the end of March this year. It had $47.4 billion in Asia-Pacific-sourced assets (or around 11% of the global figure) as at the end of last year, by AsianInvestor numbers.

AsianInvestor understands that Barclays is still looking for a replacement for Faddy.

First day for new Nikko AM hire
Nikko Asset Management announced the appointment of Aoifinn Devitt as head of its manager selection business. Today is her first day in the job.

Based in London, she will lead the expansion of its world series fund platform to Europe and other parts of Asia. At present funds on this platform are mostly delivered via Japanese distributors.

Devitt, who has previously worked for Cambridge Associates and Goldman Sachs, comes in to replace Jeff Lee, who quit in May this year and is set to leave shortly.

The platform consists of over $29 billion in third-party products, sub-advised by over 40 managers. These funds are sold to institutional, high-net-worth and retail investors in Asia, with Nikko AM’s distribution network comprising 300 intermediaries in the region, primarily in Tokyo, Singapore and Australia.

“We expect [Devitt’s] appointment will significantly expand the scope of the platform across Asia and to Europe,” says a company spokeswoman based in Hong Kong.

The funds platform is based on research conducted out of New York and Sydney. These products are typically invested in geographic areas or industry sectors – including emerging markets, infrastructure and health care – and pursue non-traditional strategies such as alternative investments, emerging multi-asset funds, hedge funds and Reits.

Nikko AM is eager to increase the scope of fund providers covered on the platform, as well as extending distribution focus to non-Japan Asia.

In addition, Devitt is also designated investment sub-adviser to an Asian absolute growth fund from London-based asset manager City Financial. This is an Asian-focused multi-manager fund with about $60 million under management for institutional investors only.

Nikko AM had more than $158 billion in assets under management as at March 31 this year.

Since 2006 Devitt has worked as an entrepreneur advising clients across a range of alternative asset classes and providing advisory services. In addition last year she was also head of client strategies at Ignis Advisors.

Prior to that she worked as a consultant at Cambridge Associates from 2002, where she researched European hedge funds and advised institutional and private clients on hedge fund and fund of fund selection. She also worked at the investment banking division at Goldman Sachs International in London from 2000 to 2002.

Chan to join Barclays as HK market head
Barclays announced it had appointed Rickie Chan from Goldman Sachs as Hong Kong market head for its wealth and investment management division.

Chan is set to take up his new role on August 16, when he will report to Pakorn Boonya-kurkul, head of wealth management for North Asia. He will be responsible for building the Hong Kong business.

Chan comes in to replace Joanna Chu, its former North Asia head who was reassigned to Hong Kong market head last year following the appointment of Pakorn Boonya-kurkul as North Asia head. AsianInvestor understands that Chu resigned to explore other opportunities.

Previously Chan spent 16 years with Goldman, most recently as executive director managing a team of bankers responsible for serving Hong Kong ultra-high-net-worth clients.

Barclays' wealth unit opened its second Asian booking centre in Hong Kong in 2010. Since then it has sought to build its North Asia business, hiring Boonya-kurkul as well as Carol Chen and Januar Tjandra as market heads for Greater China, based in Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively.

Boonya-kurkul has outlined plans to double Greater China AUM within three years, in line with the firm’s ambitious growth agenda to double AUM in Asia to over $50 billion by 2014.

He has said the bank is on the lookout for senior bankers in both Hong Kong and Singapore, with AsianInvestor having reported previously that Barclays Wealth is seeking to add 50 bankers by the end of 2012 to take the total number in both cities to 150.

Barclays moved to a single Barclays brand from March this year for the majority of its divisions, including Barclays Capital, Barclays Wealth and Barclays Corporate. Its wealth and investment management division has £172 billion ($264 billion) in assets under management globally, of which Asia-Pacific is understood to account for about 10%.

Veco Group sets up first Asian office in Hong Kong
Swiss-headquartered advisory and fiduciary services firm Veco Group announced the opening of its first Asian office in Hong Kong.

The firm focuses on four main areas: trust, asset management, multi-family office and international commercial trade assistance. Its asset management arm, Veco Invest (Asia), is regulated by the Securities and Futures Commission.

The Hong Kong operations are designed to mirror service offerings in its Lugano headquarters. Roberto Verga, who founded the firm in 1973, described its Hong Kong opening as a milestone. “We are pleased to have assembled a group of highly experienced veterans from a variety of backgrounds to join our Hong Kong team,” he adds.

Its Hong Kong trust services team is now headed by George Pathmanathan, while Veco Invest (Asia) is headed by managing director Peter Lee.

Veco Group has more than 100 employees and 10 offices worldwide.

Changes to MAS board of directors
The Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that trade and industry minister Lim Hng Kiang was reappointed to its board of directors as deputy chairman for a further two years.

It has also appointed Tan Chorh Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore, to its board, while Midiacorp chairman Teo Ming Kian will step down from its board after five years. All changes become effective from June 1 this year.