BlackRock names new Asia chief

Ryan Stork will transfer to Hong Kong, following the promotion of Mark McCombe to global head of institutional client business and chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors.
BlackRock names new Asia chief

BlackRock is bringing in Ryan Stork as its new head of Asia-Pacific, following the promotion of Mark McCombe to global head of the institutional client business and chairman of BlackRock Alternative Investors.

Stork will take up the role on June 1, having spent 13 years with the US fund house, most recently as global head of Aladdin, the risk management platform BlackRock runs for itself and clients. He will transfer to Hong Kong from New York.

McCombe will relocate to New York but will remain in the region and continue to serve as Asia-Pacific chairman until the end of 2014, when Stork will also assume that role.

Rob Goldstein was previously head of the institutional client business, but has taken up the post of chief operating officer.

Asked which areas of the Asia-Pacific operations have seen the most significant development during his time with the firm in the region, McCombe highlights three things “in no particular order”.

Firstly, the Taiwanese retail business is now substantially more internationally diversified in terms of product than two-and-a-half years ago, when was focused on a smaller number of strategies and largely concentrated on domestic exposure, he tells AsianInvestor.

The second area McCombe flags is that when he came on board, Australia was losing assets and was on a negative trajectory. “We now have an entirely new team in place and a more focused product range, after we closed lot of strategies that weren’t doing so well,” he says.

Lastly, McCombe feels BlackRock has significantly built its stature and relationships in the region among business leaders, regulators and policy-makers, among others.

Asia Pacific as a proportion of global assets under management remains a little under 10% of the firm's global total.

As for his plans in his new role, McCombe says: “Bringing together alternative and institutional business is a reflection of trends among asset allocators in Asia and globally. This will give us an opportunity to have a better dialogue with clients on alternative and illiquid strategies they want to look at.”

Alternatives capabilities has been one of the biggest growth areas in Asia Pacific, he notes. Many sovereign wealth funds and pension funds have been seeking yield and duration and looking to alternatives to that end, says McCombe.

“We’ve been able to play that,” he adds. “So my time here will stand me in good stead to see how we can replicate that across the rest of the business globally.”

Laurence Fink, the fund manager’s chairman and chief executive, said of Stork’s appointment: “As head of the Aladdin client business since 2009, [Ryan] has driven rapid expansion of the business globally – broadening the international mix of clients on the platform, including key new clients in Asia. Earlier in his career, he played a key role in leading integration among our client businesses in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.”

As for other changes at BlackRock, Heather Pelant, head of retail and private bank distribution for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, will be moving back to the US after 18 months in the role, as reported by AsianInvestor today. Damien Mooney, Asia head of the retail business, will be taking on her duties. It is understood that Pelant will be staying with the firm, but BlackRock declined to comment on the move.

HSBC veteran McCombe was appointed Asia-Pacific head in September 2011 to replace Rohit Bhagat. He had been HSBC’s Hong Kong CEO prior to that, before which he had served as London-based head of HSBC Global Asset Management. McCombe has held a variety of other roles for the group, including as UK head of the private banking division.

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