US asset manager BlackRock announced it has hired Patrick O’Donnell from BNP Paribas Investment Partners as head of consultant relations for Asia ex-Japan.

O’Donnell started in this newly created role last week based in Hong Kong. He is now responsible for building and maintaining relationships with consultants across the region to ensure its product suite is in line with institutional needs.

Winnie Pun, head of BlackRock’s Asia ex-Japan institutional business, notes that not only is collaboration with consultants important for business.

“A stronger understanding of BlackRock’s local capabilities by consultants will mean we are better able to match our products to the needs of clients within and outside of Asia,” she adds.

Asked if O'Donnell was leading a team based in Asia, a BlackRock spokesperson replies: "I do not have the answer to that question. However, what I can tell you is that O'Donnell is a senior leader in BlackRock's global consulting relations group.

"As Asia is a major strategic focus for this group, [he] works very closely with this entire team, spanning the US and EMEA regions. Additionally, [he] works as a critical component of, and in close partnership with, BlackRock's Asia ex-Japan institutional business."

O’Donnell had previously worked at BNP Paribas for almost a decade. Most recently he had served as head of consultant relations for Asia Pacific at BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

Prior to that he was chief operating officer for global business development, working from BNPP Investment Partners’ corporate headquarters in Paris.

He began his career with Mellon Financial in Boston as a member of the global securities services department, specialising in pension fund clients.

A spokeswoman for BNP Paribas Investment Partners said it was in the process of identifying a suitable replacement for O’Donnell. "Meanwhile, T.F. Cheng, our head of Asian institutional business development based in Hong Kong, and Daryl Ee, head of institutional sales in Singapore, will continue to work closely with the consultant community in Hong Kong and Singapore," she adds.

By AsianInvestor numbers, BlackRock saw its Asia-Pacific-sourced assets under management sink 11% in 2012 to $322 billion, which is 8.8% of its global AUM of $3.6 trillion.

BNP Paribas Investment Partners, meanwhile, saw a 3.8% gain in regional AUM to $74.1 billion last year, 11.6% of its global asset base.