BlackRock, the world’s biggest fund house, has installed a head of research for Asia and global emerging markets (GEM) fundamental equities as part of an ongoing team reshuffle, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Alex Chang, a former UBS executive, joined in Hong Kong in July in the role. BlackRock had committed to putting someone in the post in March, when it moved to unify the core GEM and Asia fundamental equities teams under the leadership of Andrew Swan, said a spokeswoman.  

In his new role, Chang has absorbed the responsibilities of Oisin Crawley, BlackRock's former head of research in the Asian fundamental equities team. Crawley now focuses on portfolio management, which had also been part of his responsibilities previously.

Alex Chang

Chang is responsible for overseeing the research process in the Asia and GEM teams to generate investment ideas and working with the global research team.

 

He most recently worked at UBS, but left the Swiss bank in the second quarter of 2016. Chang had most recently been chief operating officer of the office of the president for Asia Pacific and before that was head of Asia research product management. His regulatory licence with UBS ceased on May 31 last year. AsianInvestor could not ascertain what he had been doing since then.

Chang had also worked for Cazenove Asia and Australia’s BT Funds Management, according to his biography on Bloomberg.

Equities team restructure

Chang's arrival was linked to big changes in BlackRock's equities division this year.

Swan had been Hong Kong-based head of Asian equities, but his role expanded in March 29 to include oversight of GEM equity. Luiz Soares, New York-based head of global emerging markets, left the firm.

At the same time, BlackRock appointed Belinda Boa, head of Asia-Pacific active investments, to the additional role of chief investment officer for EM in the fundamental active equity division.

This followed the decision, effective February 1 last year, to group fundamental and quantitative equity capabilities in a single unit known as active equities under Boa.

Gordon Fraser, a portfolio manager in the GEM equity team, has since relocated from London to Hong Kong, effective in August this year. This transfer was flagged in March when the other announcements were made, noted the spokeswoman.

The firm had also said it would overhaul its active equity investment business by re-orienting product ranges, mainly in the US, and relying more on computers to make equity investments.

BlackRock has 40 portfolio managers and analysts in the Asia and GEM fundamental equities team covering research across Asia Pacific, Europe and Latin America.

As of September 30 last year, the firm was the biggest manager of assets in Asia Pacific among non-Asian firms and the third-largest overall, with $440 billion under management in the region out of its $5.1 trillion in global AUM. As of June 30 this year, BlackRock's global AUM had risen to $5.68 trillion.