Credit Suisse to integrate Clariden Leu; Asia impact uncertain
In the biggest news of the week, Credit Suisse announced plans to fully integrate subsidiary Clariden Leu, revealing it would result in 550 job cuts and be completed by the end of 2012.

The bank expects to achieve cost savings of around SFr200 million ($218 million), adding it’s part of a drive to increase the private banking contribution to group pre-tax income by SFr800 million by 2014.

It revealed that Olivier Jaquet had stepped down as CEO of Clariden Leu Group, with Hanspeter Kurzmeyer installed in his place. Kurzmeyer will lead the integration project.

Asked about the potential impact on its Asia operations, a spokesperson in Switzerland said only: “The process starts now and is expected to be completed by the end of 2012. There will be a headcount reduction of about 550, part of it from Clariden Leu and part of it from Credit Suisse.”

It comes after Clariden Leu moved to streamline its organisational structure this year following the resignation of chief investment officer and head of global investment solutions Sandeep Malhotra, based in Zurich.

Jimmy Lee has been busily ramping up Clariden Leu in Asia from his Singapore base, having joined from Deutsche Bank in March 2009. He had hired a large number of ex-colleagues from Deutsche private wealth management and made a raft of other hires, some as recently as last month. Lee did not respond to AsianInvestor enquires for comment.

Clariden Leu was formed from the merger of five Credit Suisse units in 2007. As at the end of June this year it had SFr94 billion in assets under management globally.

Aberdeen hires Asia head of corporate governance
Following the return of Peter Taylor late last year to Aberdeen Asset Management’s UK office, the fund house has hired a new Asia head of corporate governance (CG).

David Smith, a forensic corporate governance specialist, started on November 14. He joins from data provider Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) in Singapore, where he spent four years as head of Asia ex-Japan research, leading a team of 20 regional analysts.

Whereas Taylor’s role was split roughly 50/50 between corporate governance analysis and portfolio management, Smith’s will be more of a dedicated CG role, involving more forensic company analysis.

Smith has spent most of his career in the research and investigation of aspects of governance, and he is the author of several published papers.

At Aberdeen, he will primarily support the 35-strong Asia equity team but also assist the company’s burgeoning Asia fixed-income team. He reports to Hugh Young, Aberdeen’s Asia managing director and head of equities.

The firm’s investment team is already well versed in routine CG issues, but it needs a specialist for various special projects and one-off deals, Young tells AsianInvestor.

While investors have not historically tended to focus on CG as much in Asia as they do in Europe or the US, there has been a nascent trend for fund managers to bring specialists to the region in the past couple of years. Such firms include BlackRock, BNP Paribas Investment Partners, First State Investments and HSBC Global Asset Management.

Mirae management switch following BetaPro takeover
Mirae Asset Global Investments Group has completed its acquisition of an 85% stake in Horizons ETFs Management (Canada) – formerly BetaPro Management – and has made a change to its management as a result.

Taeyong Lee, who leads Mirae Asset’s global ETF business, will join Horizons as executive chairman. He will also assume the newly created role of global head of ETFs for Mirae Asset, having previously been head of ETF and alternative investments.

Lee will split his time between Seoul and Toronto. Adam Felesky will continue as CEO of Horizons ETFs and Howard Atkinson will remain president.

The acquisition, announced in July and completed on November 15, had a closing price of C$127.5 million ($126 million).

Horizons ETFs, together with its subsidiaries AlphaPro Management and Horizons Investment Management, manages the largest ETF family in Canada by number of funds, with 75 ETFs listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange and $3.3 billion in assets under management (as of October 31).

Janowski hired to drive growth in Asia at Crédit Agricole Suisse
Crédit Agricole Suisse announced it had appointed veteran Serge Janowski as chief executive of its Hong Kong branch as it targets expansion on the back of a recently awarded banking licence in the city.

The move was announced in Switzerland first and then in Asia, although Janowski actually started on September 14 this year. He reports to Georges Zecchin, who was appointed chief executive of Crédit Agricole Suisse in Asia last year.

In a statement, the firm says it has plans to expand its private client and wealth management portfolios in Asia-Pacific (without mentioning specifics) and points out that Janowski has a history of bringing about fundamental improvement in banking results.

Most recently Janowski was Wealth Management CEO for Hong Kong at BNP Paribas, but has a 20-year industry career in both private and investment banking. A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas confirmed that Janowski had resigned in June and that Mignonne Cheng, chairman and CEO of BNP Paribas Wealth Management for Asia-Pacific, was still acting in the role.

Crédit Agricole Suisse was granted a full banking licence by the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in March, followed soon after by the opening of a booking centre in the city. It also has booking centres in Singapore and Geneva.

Crédit Agricole Suisse is a subsidiary of Crédit Agricole CIB and has four business areas: private banking, capital markets, transactional commodity finance and banking logistics. As at the end of June this year it had $49 billion in assets under management globally.

Threadneedle continues hiring spree with ex-Goldman sales director in Japan
UK-based asset manager Threadneedle Investments announced the appointment of Yoshihisa Kojima from Goldman Sachs as its new sales director for Japan. He reports directly to June Wong, vice-chairman of Asia-Pacific, and Michael Langlois, its head of wholesale distribution.

Kojima brings with him over a decade of experience in fund marketing and distribution in Japan, most recently working as vice-president at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

At Goldman he was responsible for marketing and distribution of all fixed income and quantitative products and was instrumental in the launch of a number of products, including a currency long/short fund and a quantitative hedge fund.

Threadneedle’s Asia-Pacific chairman Raymundo Yu pointed to Kojima’s sound track record in fund launches, describing his hire as a boost to the firm’s efforts to widen its regional client base.

Yu is foremost among a plethora of hires that the UK-based investment manager has made over the past 12 months.

In March it hired a trio of Merrill Lynch veterans to drive regional expansion, namely Andrew Chan as Asia-Pacific head of product and business development; and Tony Poon and Harry Tan as heads of client service and business managers for North Asia and South Asia, respectively.

It came just two weeks after William Lowndes quit Threadneedle Asset Management in March as its head of Asian distribution

The following month in April it hired three sales directors to cover wholesale markets in Asia: Gerard Clancy (Asia-Pacific), Richmond Herrera (Southeast Asia), both based in Singapore, and Kent Ng (Hong Kong and China), based in Hong Kong.

Later in the year it hired June Wong from AllianceBernstein as senior managing director of institutional sales for Asia ex-Japan.

Other moves reported by AsianInvestor this week:

Pictet's Haberer points politely to grand Asia plan

Manulife hires veteran for multi-sector fixed income team