Having seen Elvin Yu depart to join RCM last year, Baring Asset Management has just hired a replacement in the form of Wayne Shum, who has joined in Hong Kong from HSBC Global Asset Management.

He is responsible for sales and business development across the institutional client base, including sovereign wealth funds, government and private institutions and pension-related prospects in Asia excluding Japan. HSBC is in the process of choosing a replacement for him.

Shum joined Barings on Monday (August 2) and reports to Gerry Ng, head of sales, client service and business development for Asia ex-Japan. Since Yu's departure, Hong Kong-based Ng had been running business development for the Asian institutional market, overseeing individuals based in Hong Kong, Korea and Taiwan.

Ng says Barings is seeing fast-growing interest from institutions in this region, despite the fact that some institutions have expressed a desire to manage more assets in-house.

"We've seen some institutions trying to manage money in-house, but that tends to be for simpler, bread-and-butter strategies," says Ng. "But for more niche, specialist products -- such as Greater China equities -- not so many have the appetite to staff up in those areas."

"Of course they will want to increase their in-house expertise," he adds, "but they won't necessarily have the resources to tackle many different asset classes."

With 23 years' experience in the financial sector, ranging from investment analysis and consultancy to institutional business development, Shum most recently led HSBC Global Asset Management's development of regional business with central banks, government agencies, sovereign wealth funds, public reserves, state pension and social security funds, and supranational organisations.

Before that, he led Franklin Templeton's institutional business development effort for Asia ex-Japan. He previously held several roles at Mercer Investment Consulting in Hong Kong.

As of June 30, Barings manages £5.6 billion ($8.9 billion) in Asia-based client assets and plans to increase that as a proportion of its total $42.6 billion in assets under management (as of May 31), according to the firm's global chief investment officer, Marino Valensise. To that end, the firm plans to add to its team of 14 Hong Kong-based Asia investment professionals.

"As the markets continue to grow and there's a bit of a recovery -- although it's a bit stop-start at the moment -- we continue to believe that the institutional business will be an important part of our focus in the coming years," says Ng. "Institutions will be looking to get higher returns than the meagre returns of recent years. They will move further up the risk curve and look at areas such as emerging markets."

Meanwhile, Barings received a $200 million qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) quota in April and has fully utilised it already. "There's been a lot of interest from a wide range of funds, institutional clients and some of our own funds that want exposure to A-shares," says Ng