French fund house Axa Investment Managers has hired a second trader in Hong Kong to strengthen its regional multi-asset dealing hub, underscoring its expectation that it will be trading more volume in Asia.

Devan Chau joined in October as senior trader on the trading and securities financing (TSF) team from Hong Kong-based boutique Hamon Investment Group, where she was a business manager and dealer until July. Before that, Chau was a senior dealer in the equity team at ING Investment Management and a private banking associate at Merrill Lynch.

A Hamon spokeswoman said Chau had been replaced internally.

She reports to Laurent Bilard, Asia head of TSF, who relocated from London to Hong Kong in December 2013 to set up the Asia fixed income trading desk in a move flagged by AsianInvestor in September 2013. 

Both individuals can trade multiple asset classes, but Bilard’s background is more in fixed income, while Chau’s focus has been in equities. Bilard reports to Paul Squires, London-based global head of TSF.

Squires expects the Hong Kong team to trade more equity exchange-traded funds now that Chau is in place. Bilard had started dealing ETFs around the start of this year for asset allocation purposes for Axa IM’s balanced funds. 

“This is a relatively new activity for the team in Hong Kong,” Squires told AsianInvestor. "Historically it's been cash bonds and cash equities there."

The desk may also trade leveraged/inverse ETFs listed in Hong Kong, which are expected to list in the city early next year, as reported.

Squires also sees more opportunities to use the trading platform in Hong Kong to tap more opportunities in Asia in stock lending and repo. 

Whether Axa IM adds more trading headcount in Hong Kong will depend on future business from the fund management side. There are no immediate plans to make further hires, said Squires.

Hong Kong is the hub for the execution of all Asian securities covered by the TSF team, which includes fixed income, equities, exchange-traded funds, local foreign exchange and derivatives. 

Axa IM received a licence in August allowing it to trade orders received from portfolio managers outside Hong Kong. Prior to this Bilard was dealing FX and fixed income locally, but is now also dealing on behalf of the teams in London, Paris and Tokyo. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Axa IM has two traders in Singapore dealing equities on behalf of the firm’s quantitative investment arm, Axa IM Rosenberg Equities, a separate division from the TSF team.