Investec Asset Management has poached Asia retail funds specialist Beonca Yip from Eastspring Investments to spearhead its regional expansion plans.

She joins in the newly created post of Asia ex-Japan head of advisor distribution, as the South African-UK firm focuses on building out its distribution capabilities, including opening a retail advisor business in Singapore next year.

Yip started on October 28 and reports to Richard Garland, managing director of the Americas, Japan and Asia advisor client groups. She is based in Hong Kong and will work directly with retail banks, insurers, private banks and other wealth management platforms.

Part of Investec's plans include extending its retail advisor distribution business to its Lion City branch, where the firm has carried out institutional business since opening last September.

Once the firm’s funds are registered with the Monetary Authority of Singapore, it will begin distributing its range of equity, fixed income and multi-asset global and emerging market strategies to retail investors in Singapore and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

“Hong Kong has been our hub for our advisor business. Now we’re looking to start distributing [to retail investors] in Singapore very soon,” Yip tells AsianInvestor. The firm aims to begin fund distribution in China as well. She declined to offer a specific timeline, other than to say it will happen at some point in 2014.

Yip will also oversee the firm’s Taiwan office, which has more than 20 staff distributing offshore funds to local retail investors. She plans to expand this headcount, as well as those in Hong Kong and Singapore. She declined to offer specific targets in terms of team sizes.

Most of the $100 billion firm’s funds are managed out of Cape Town and London, and it is understood to be considering setting up investment offices in Hong Kong and Singapore. Yip declined to comment on this.

Yip has 17 years of experience working in the Asian asset management industry. She joined UK insurer Prudential’s Asian investment division in October 2010 as regional head of retail, where she oversaw all offshore distribution and marketing activities for Asia and Europe. The unit was rebranded Eastspring Investments in early 2012.

Prior to that Yip ran the regional marketing division at Lyxor Asset Management, part of French group Société Générale. She has also worked at Jardine Fleming Investment Management and HSBC Investment Management in Hong Kong.

Eastspring made a number of promotions following Yip’s exit, but says none of them were replacements for Yip. In May, the firm promoted Koh Hui-Jian to head of retail sales for Singapore and Hong Kong and has also named Caron Ng head of retail sales for Singapore.

Eastspring also recently named named former Deutsche Bank executive Michele Bang as deputy CEO and global head of distribution, product and marketing. She is due to start later this year in Hong Kong.