Each Friday AsianInvestor will send out a snapshot of who has moved where during the week. This will feature material we have not previously published. Our featured moves are linked at the end.

AXA IM aims to boost commercial development through fund distribution
AXA Investment Managers announced the hire of Sandra Lau from the HKMA to focus on fund distribution sales for Southeast Asia as it strives to reinforce its regional distribution operations.

Lau started on September 14 based in Hong Kong and reports to Terence Lam, Asia head of sales and marketing.

AXA IM has lost a few bodies on the fund distribution side this year. Jean-Luc Eyssautier, who was Hong Kong-based director of funds distribution for Asia, joined Martin Currie Investment Management as sales and client services director for Asia.

Subsequently Paul Fu, an associate director within the fund distribution team covering Hong Kong and Taiwan, also left, to join Allianz Global Investors in a similar role.

But Lam insists that Lau has not replaced anyone. While her focus is Southeast Asia, she will assist him for Hong Kong coverage while he looks to add a hire in the near term. The firm already has Amy Lo focused on Taiwan.

“This is part of a plan I have been speaking about with senior management both in Asia and in Paris,” Lam says. “We want to have the whole sales team covering Asia ex-Japan and ex-Australia based here in Hong Kong.

“Our sales team has been forming over the last 12 months and we are in good shape now. Sandra is very experienced. I want her to focus initially on Southeast Asia and to help me in covering Hong Kong.”

Singapore is where AXA IM houses its investments team, while Hong Kong is home to sales and operations as well as regional management. It’s the desire to base its sales team (of about 10) in Hong Kong that explains why Lau is based in the city but covers Southeast Asia, explains Lam.

Lau joined AXA IM from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where she has worked as senior manager in the enforcement division since the beginning of 2009. Prior to this Lau was first vice-president in the sales and service division at China Construction Bank (Asia) and Bank of America (Asia), based in Hong Kong.

She has also held similar roles at various corporations including within HSBC personal banking, HSBC Asset Management, National Australia Bank, ANZ Group and Bank of Montreal.

AllianceBernstein adds to fixed income, aims to beef up research
Asset manager AllianceBernstein has hired Vincent Tsui from Standard Chartered as regional economist for its fixed income team and is looking to add a research analyst in both Hong Kong and Singapore.

Tsui, who joined the firm on August 22, will provide macroeconomic and fixed income research for Asia-Pacific based in Hong Kong. He will work closely with the regional fixed income team’s two senior economists, Anthony Chan in Hong Kong and Guy Bruten in Melbourne.

“We are beefing up our research capability more on the fixed income side, looking to hire analysts in both Hong Kong and Singapore,” notes Brian Lo, Asia-Pacific head of marketing.

At present AllianceBernstein has 14 people in its regional fixed income team, comprising three portfolio managers, three economists and nine analysts. It is looking to add two more.

Tsui joins from StanChart (Hong Kong), where he was an economist in the global markets team covering various regional economies.

AllianceBernstein managed $433 billion in assets as at August 31, of which its global fixed income platform accounted for $218 million in AUM.

Aberdeen adds business development manager for private banking sales
Aberdeen International Fund Managers has appointed Clarchie Szeto from JP Morgan AM as senior business development manager for its private banking channel business.

Based in Hong Kong, Szeto landed at Aberdeen two weeks ago and will be responsible for increasing the firm’s mutual fund sales to private banks in the city. She replaces Lucy Draper, who was working in a more junior role and was reallocated to the UK.

Szeto reports functionally to Amelie Remond, who heads private bank business development for Asia ex-Japan from Singapore, and locally to Mable Chan, head of business development in Hong Kong.

Remond, who has been in the role for over three years and previously worked at ABN Amro Asset Management, suggests asset management products are becoming more popular with private banks in an era of stricter compliance and disclosure rules.

“Private banks are still interested in thematic topics," Remond says, "but because there are more requirements from authorities, products are using fewer derivatives and are more vanilla. Private banks have become more keen to promote traditional long-term investments than in the recent past.”

She notes that in the past few months private banks have shown appetite for Latin American investments in particular, as well as US equities.

The chief products of interest for European clients currently she lists as emerging market equities and world equities and Asian fixed income, both local currency and short duration.

Szeto has over 14 years’ experience in financial services. Most recently she worked at JP Morgan AM in Hong Kong, where was had a similar role. Prior to that she was at HSBC Bank International. She spent the early part of her career with Fidelity Investments in Canada.

BoA-Merill hires Kim to head product development for Asia equity execution
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch announced the appointment of former Goldman Sachs staffer Kim Man Li as director and head of product development for Asia-Pacific execution services.

Kim is based in Hong Kong to drive development of the bank’s internal and client-facing trading technology and coordinate expansion into new product activities in Asia.

A BoA-Merrill spokesman says this is a new role, that there was no head of product development before and that no one has left.

The firm’s electronic trading coverage team, run by Janice Ko, now reports jointly to Kim and to Gabriel Butler, head of Asia-Pacific electronic trading sales.

Kim will report to Ryan Holsheimer, head of Asia-Pacific equity execution services, and Roger Anerella, global head of electronic trading.

At Goldman Sachs Kim spent a total of 11 years, most recently as head of pan-Asian electronic trading sales.

Separately, Justin Short, who had a pan-Asia role focused on sales and market structure for electronic trading based in Japan has been handed an expanded role.

He is now head of algorithmic trading and equity strategies for pan-Asian equities and will also be responsible for developing trading analytics, automated trading tools and risk management solutions for pan-Asian cash and program trading. He will report to Gene Reilly, head of its Asia-Pacific equity execution business, and Anerella.

Moves reported earlier this week on AsianInvestor.net:

CS taps Mollemans for advanced execution services

LGT Capital Management opens Asia distribution unit

McCombe's capture to drive Asia growth, says BlackRock