Seetoh Lin-Yoke is retiring in October from fund management sales. A long-serving executive at Baring Asset Management in Hong Kong, she is one of the local industry's best-known institutional sales people.

For now she wants to try spending time with her family. "I want to take a break, spend time with my kids, and see if I can get used to life as a full-time mother," she says. Although Singaporean, she will stay in Hong Kong.

Barings has recruited a headhunter to seek a replacement. But by dint of her experience and her contacts, Seetoh leaves behind a big pair of shoes to fill.

She joined Barings in 1989 where she worked on the retail side of the business, establishing relationships with wholesale distributors. In 1998 she switched to institutional sales, and in 2000 assumed responsibility for both as director and head of sales for Hong Kong. She reports to Hong Kong-based managing director Syd Bone.

Barings has a sales and client support team of five people plus two support staff in Hong Kong serving the region, as well as offices in Taipei and Tokyo. It also manages regional portfolios in a team led by Kheim Do from Hong Kong.

The firm has had a presence in Asia since 1975. "We have institutional clients that go back as far as 1978," says Seetoh.

Nonetheless, competitors and other industry people familiar with the firm say this is an uncertain period for Baring Asset Management. It is seen as an institutional specialist in the much bigger ING Group, which also has its own institutional management capability, although that is geared around its insurance business. Barings was once a major player in Hong Kong, reportedly with assets under management in the $13-14 billion range, but that number has dwindled considerably since the Asian financial crisis.