Aviva Investors overhaul hits Asia unit

The Asia equities team and several other executives have left, including Singapore CEO Tahnoon Pasha. But the UK firm has set up a bond-dealing desk in the region and retains its Asia equities capability in London.
Aviva Investors overhaul hits Asia unit

Aviva Investors, the asset management arm of UK insurer Aviva, has cut headcount in Singapore and restructured its business in Asia following a global overhaul.

Tahnoon Pasha, who was Singapore chief executive and Asia chief investment officer of equities and fixed income, left the firm last month after four years in the role. He remains in Asia and has set up a business data reporting firm, Cynopsis, and a multi-family office platform called Inner Sanctum, according to his LinkedIn page. He could not be reached for comment by press time.

Kevin Talbot has taken over as regional CEO and chief investment officer, having been CIO for fixed income since 2011.

The firm's four-strong Asian equity team, including team head Yap Khek Heng and Tan Jee Toon, exited early this year. Their assets have been transferred to the portfolio management team in London; Asian equities had previously been run out of both locations.

Manish Singhai, who came on board as Asia equities CIO at the same time as Talbot, moved to Lazard Asset Management in September 2012.  

The sales team has also seen departures, but Lim Beng Eu remains as head of institutional and retail distribution. The retail side had at one point been under Patrick Chong’s remit. The product development executive has also left, but the responsibilities are being covered by another team member.

The Asia-Pacific fixed income team has remained intact, say sources, and Aviva Investors has retained its sales staff in Australia and Taiwan.

The firm has reportedly cut some 200 jobs worldwide over the past two years, shutting several desks including those focused on emerging markets, global equities and responsible investments.

The latest moves in Asia are understood to have been under way since late 2013 as part of a shift to more centralised, global reporting functions.

However, Aviva Investors has implemented a central bond-dealing desk in Singapore, say sources, replicating the global model for other functions. The technology is said to be in place, and the second of two traders is expected to be hired shortly.

The dealing team will report to Talbot and the global head of dealing in London, but AsianInvestor could not ascertain any other names or the planned headcount by press time.

After selling its Australian equities business and switching its Asia-Pacific headquarters to Singapore from Sydney in mid-2011, the firm had built up its regional presence to around 70 across investment, sales and operations.

That said, the arrival of Euan Munro in January as CEO from UK rival Standard Life Investments (SLI) has reportedly raised hopes that a turnaround can be achieved. The firm is currently rolling out a global multi-asset product in London under Munro, who had run SLI’s $30 billion Global Absolute Return Strategies fund.

Aviva Investors declined to comment for this article.

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