BlackRock has appointed a new head of Southeast Asia as part of a regional reorganisation, AsianInvestor can reveal. Deborah Ho will take up the role at the world’s biggest fund manager in March 2018, effectively replacing Kevin Hardy.

Ho, previously co-head of senior relationship management for Asia Pacific at Barclays Bank, will now report to Ryan Stork, Asia-Pacific chairman of BlackRock. 

Deborah Ho

Hardy is head of Singapore and Asia-Pacific head of beta strategies at BlackRock and will leave the firm at the end of March. He also oversees the rest of Southeast Asia.

Hardy's regional responsibilities for beta strategies will be taken on by Susan Chan, Asia-Pacific head of iShares, BlackRock’s passive investment business. She will head the combined business for Asia out of Hong Kong.

This comes after the group folded its indexing business into the iShares exchange-traded funds arm on a global basis in November last year. 

Kevin Hardy

A spokesman told AsianInvestor: “Our business has evolved, with the management of our ETF and indexing business now having moved to Hong Kong. We have also made the SEA head role independent to reflect the growth of this market and its contribution to our business. For these reasons, Kevin has decided to pursue opportunities outside BlackRock.

“We are excited about the high-level client relations and deep experience that Deborah can bring to the head of SEA role,” he added.

Ho had spent nearly six years at Barclays, servicing the group’s biggest corporate and institutional clients in the region. The UK bank declined to comment on her departure.

Before joining Barclays in February 2012, Ho had been chief executive of Singapore’s DBS Asset Management from 2007 to 2011, where she led the sale of the business to Japan’s Nikko Asset Management in October 2011. Ho has also held senior roles at UBS and JP Morgan Securities.

Hardy had joined Blackrock from Chicago-based asset management and servicing firm Northern Trust in 2012, where he had been head of Hong Kong and head of global investments for Asia Pacific. Prior to that, he was London-based international director of transition management at State Street Global Advisors.

AsianInvestor could not reach Hardy for comment by press time, nor ascertain what might be his next destination.