Bank of Singapore has appointed UK fund house Schroders’ former head of Asia fixed income to its top investment post, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Rajeev De Mello is understood to be joining the private bank as chief investment officer (CIO), pending regulatory approval. The current CIO since May 2016, Johan Jooste, will take up the role of head of rates.

The CIO post is a key one for a private bank, typically entailing functions such as setting investment strategy, advising clients on asset allocation, and overseeing discretionary portfolios. The individual therefore has influence on how the firm and its clients invest and on the products it uses.

Rajeev De Mello

Bank of Singapore declined to comment on the changes.

The firm is among the 10 biggest private banks in Asia by assets under management. It expanded these by 19% to $102 billion in the year to March 31, according to parent bank OCBC.

Before joining Schroders, De Mello had been senior investment officer and Singapore country head at bond house Western Asset Management, part of US fund group Legg Mason. He has also served as head of Asian fixed income at Pictet Asset Management.

De Mello parted ways with Schroders some time ago. His regulatory licence with the company in Hong Kong ended on February 21.

SCHRODERS SHAKE-UP

On that date, Schroders put into effect changes to the fixed income team.

De Mello's responsibilities were split into investment and business components, similar to the approach under Schroders' equity franchise, wrote fund research house Morningstar in a client note in March.

Roy Diao was named Schroders’ new head of Asian fixed income on the business side based in Singapore, having joined the UK fund house in mid-2017 from Oddo Asset Management.

Portfolio managers Julia Ho and Angus Hui took combined leadership of De Mello's former investment responsibilities.

Morningstar also said at the time that, according to Schroders, De Mello’s departure was primarily triggered by differences in view between the firm and himself about the strategic direction for the Asian fixed-income business.