Barclays Global Investors (BGI) has created five new roles in an expansion of its Asia ex-Japan institutional business.

Three are internal appointments. Catherine Barker, who has worked at BGI Europe for seven years covering cash management and index product strategy, moves to Singapore where she will head up the client service and marketing business.

Ada Yin has moved from BGI Canada to a new role in Singapore as portfolio manager on BGIÆs exchange-traded fund team iShares, while Ivan Fong transfers from Australia to Hong Kong to work on the client advisory team.

The main external appointment is that of George Ding, former financial risk manager the New York City Retirement System, who moves to Hong Kong where he will be client director for mainland China. Before his stint in New York Ding was a foreign-exchange trader and corporate treasurer for companies in Hong Kong and China.

The other external appointee is Eric Poon, who joins from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and will work as head of cash sales for BGI Asia ex-Japan.

ôWe manage money for a lot of central banks,ö says Mark Talbot, CEO for Asia ex-Japan in Hong Kong. ôWe are obviously reluctant to talk about individual mandates but this is all about increasing our institutional business. All of the markets in Asia Pacific as a whole have been receptive to our business model.ö

He says BGI is targeting institutions with its quantitative strategies: ôMost institutions want a risk-controlled approach as they do not want to be taking individual bets and that is something active quant strategies can give them.

ôWe have a very full product offering including active quant hedge funds and mortgage-backed securities vehicles but tend to be hired to manage global and US fixed income mandates.ö

This fits in will several recent developments on the Asian institutional asset management scene, most notably three tenders up for grabs in Taiwan and last yearÆs outsourcing by the National Council for Social Security Fund in China. In the former, as reported by last week, the Public Service Pension Fund is seeking managers for $400 million in global enhanced fixed income.

Across Asia Pacific BGI has some $196 billion in assets under management and more than $1.5 trillion globally. So far business in Asia ex-Japan has been slow to catch up. As of June last year just 1% of BGI clients were from the region. Australia and Japan comprise 2% and 9% respectively.