AsianInvestor’s weekly roundup of job-hoppers, Sep 30

We round up the moves, including Bruno Lee’s HSBC exit, Greater China hires by Pinebridge and Providence, a new adviser for Threadneedle and a life insurer relocation.
AsianInvestor’s weekly roundup of job-hoppers, Sep 30

Bruno Lee exiting HSBC to return to Fidelity
Retail distribution specialist Bruno Lee has quit HSBC after five years as Asia-Pacific head of wealth management to return to Fidelity, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Lee is currently working out his three-month notice period and, contrary to speculation, departs the bank on good terms, sources close to the move say.

It is understood his role at Fidelity will be retail focused, although details on title are still being finalised. The intention is for Lee to stay at HSBC until around mid-December.

“Rumours have been flying around about his reasons for leaving, but the truth is that he has a happy relationship with the HSBC team and leaves on good terms,” says a source. “What he has decided to do is take on is an exciting new challenge.”

This is the second time Lee has moved to Fidelity. He first joined HSBC in Hong Kong in 1990 to work in personal banking. From 1991 to 2003 he worked for Fidelity Investments in Hong Kong, the US and Taiwan, focusing on retail fund distribution and retirement business.

He served as chief executive officer for Invesco Taiwan in 2004 and 2005 before rejoining HSBC in 2006 as Asia-Pacific head of wealth management. There he had overall responsibility for developing and implementing product strategies and propositions for all wealth management products and services.

Asked for comment, both HSBC and Fidelity pulled the shutters down tightly. It is understood Fidelity will release a statement at an appropriate time.

Desmond Tjiang lands at Pinebridge as portfolio manager
Pinebridge Investments announced the appointment of Desmond Tjiang from BNP Paribas IP as managing director and portfolio manager for Greater China and Hong Kong.

Tjiang joined the firm last week. Pinebridge is the former fund management arm of bailed out insurer AIG that was sold to Pacific Century Group last year.

He reports directly to Robin Thorn, the global head of equities who relocated to the Hong Kong regional headquarters in September to drive its equities business in Asian growth markets. As PM for Greater China and Hong Kong, Tjiang will be fundamental to that process. The size of the assets he will manage is about $1.5 billion.

Most recently Tjiang was working as CIO and deputy head of Asia ex-Japan equities at BNP Paribas Investment Partners (formerly Fortis Investments). During seven years at Fortis he worked out of both its Hong Kong and Shanghai offices.

Before Fortis he was a senior equity analyst for UBS Wealth Management focusing on North Asia. He started his career in 1996 as an analyst on Mark Mobius’ emerging markets team at Templeton AM covering companies in Hong Kong, China, Korea and the Philippines.

Pinebridge Investments manages $77.9 billion in assets globally, of which nearly a third originates in Asia, according to its Asia ex-Japan CEO Rajeev Mittal. Equities accounts for $18.2 billion of the portfolio, comprising $4.7 billion for developed markets, $3.2 billion for structured equities and $10.3 billion for emerging markets.

A spokesperson for BNP Paribas IP says Tjiang left a few months ago but has not been directly replaced amid a reorganisation of its Asia-Pacific equities team.

When Tjiang was working at BNP IP he reported to Patrick Ho, head of Asian equities. Ho is now head of Greater China equities at the firm. Meanwhile Alex Ng is CIO for Asia-Pacific.

Head of Asia-Pacific equities is now Arthur Kwong, who has been with the firm since 2001 and has been responsible for its Asian high income strategy since 2003.

PE firm Providence adds MD to focus on Greater China
Private equity firm Providence Equity Partners announced it had hired Tao Sun as managing director and head of China investment activities.

He is set to join in December to focus on Greater China. Most recently he had been a partner at emerging markets PE firm Actis based in Beijing.

Prior to 2008 he worked for Merrill Lynch in Hong Kong, where he was responsible for private equity deal execution and portfolio management in China.

“We are deeply committed to the Greater China market and will continue to provide compelling companies with our sector-focused expertise and growth capital to help them achieve their potential and create lasting value for their owners, employees and partners.”

Providence Equity Partners specialises in equity investments in media, communications, information services and education companies. Its principals manage funds with over $23 billion in equity commitments.

Threadneedle adds senior adviser to drive Malaysia strategy
UK-based asset manager Threadneedle Investments has acquired the services of Syed Elias Alhabshi as senior adviser for Malaysia to help the firm develop its strategic plan for the market.

It is understood Alhabshi, who is based in Singapore, will be working closely with the firm’s Asia-Pacific chairman Raymundo Yu as part of a renewed drive to expand its Asia presence.

Yu, the former Merrill Lynch chairman, came out of retirement to join Threadneedle last year and has been busy hiring across the region.

Most recently Alhabshi has been serving on various company boards in Malaysia. Between 2006 and 2009 he was group executive director of Malaysia-based conglomerate Realmind, offering management of integrated health-care facilities, heavy engineering and vessel construction.

Prior to that he was chief operating officer in the consumer division of both Hong Leong Bank and integrated sales for financial services of Hong Leong Group.

Threadneedle actively manages assets of $110 billion globally as at June 30 and has 120 investment professionals investing across developed and emerging market equities, fixed income, commodities and UK property.

Life insurer ACE relocates regional HQ to Hong Kong
ACE Life announced it had opened an Asia-Pacific headquarters in Hong Kong, having relocated from Thailand.

The business is led by regional president Saloon Tham, with his management team now based out of ACE Tower in Causeway Bay.

“With the relocation of our regional office, we are poised to benefit from Hong Kong’s leading position as a financial services hub,” he says. “Hong Kong is a good vantage point to explore new business opportunities in the region.”

ACE Life has a small presence in Asia-Pacific, with operations in China (joint-venture), Indonesia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. It expanded its presence earlier this year by acquiring New York Life’s business in Hong Kong and Korea.

Other moves reported by AsianInvestor this week:

Korea Teachers Pension Fund names new chairman

BlackRock hires Kim as first Asia-Pac head of fixed income

UBS hires Koh as Singapore WM chief and country head

Deutsche's RREEF completes lineup with Chua hire

Korean pension fund unveils new chairman

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