US asset manager BlackRock has hired Choi Man-Yeon from Schroder Investment Management as its incoming country head for Korea.

Effective from June 3, Choi will replace Yang Sung Nak, who has been with the US house for 13 years but has opted to leave the firm.

Yang is representative director for BlackRock Investment Management Korea and has agreed to stay on until June 23 to ensure a smooth transition. Choi takes on the same role and responsibilities.

Overall BlackRock manages $650 million onshore in Korea, mostly via institutional mandates, says a spokesman. It boasts 25 front-office and business operations staff in the country currently.

The spokesman adds that Choi’s immediate priorities will be to ensure cross-country strategy alignment to tap growth opportunities. “A core focus will also be to deliver business growth through aggressive and well-coordinated client engagement and sales activities,” he tells AsianInvestor.

Choi will report to Andrew Reynolds, BlackRock’s chief financial officer and head of corporate strategy for Asia Pacific.

Reynolds says Choi will be tasked with driving expansion in the firm’s Korea operations. “Korea is a very dynamic and competitive market for investment and wealth management in the region with huge growth potential. Local success is critical to the growth of our regional business,” he notes.

Choi joins BlackRock from Schroders, where he was most recently head of distribution for its Korean business.

A spokesman for Schroders confirmed that Choi left the firm on March 21. He says Jeon Kil Soo, CEO of Schroders Korea, will take on management responsibility for the distribution team until a replacement can been found. Schroders has a 41-strong team in Korea at present.

In total BlackRock has $352.2 billion in assets under management across Asia Pacific, making the region 8.6% of its global AUM of $4.1 trillion.