BlackRock’s exchange-traded funds unit, iShares, has moved to replace Jane Leung as its Asia-Pacific head, AsianInvestor can confirm.
Leung, who has led the iShares business for two-and-a-half years since being promoted in 2012, is relocating to the US to take up a senior role with BlackRock. She has been with the fund house in the region for seven years.
The firm told AsianInvestor it will announce a new management lineup in the next few months, including additional hires, but details are yet to be confirmed.
Susan Chan was appointed late last month to replace Leung, who will remain in Hong Kong for at least three months during the transition process.
Chan has been working as head of iShares’ Asia-Pacific capital markets team, which manages all capital market partner, exchange and regulatory relationships for the ETF business in the region. Its goal is to maintain liquidity for the firm’s ETFs. The new role is an addition to Chan's existing position.
Chan said: “In Hong Kong we have a very strong China access business built around our A50 [iShares FTSE A50 China Index] fund, which recently added around $800 million of additional physical capacity through RQFII and QFII quotas.”
The fund has attracted inflow of some $2.3 billion this year, she added.
BlackRock has been developing its retail offering following in Japan over the past year following the launch of the Nippon Individual Savings Account programme, Chan said.
The scheme was launched this January as part of prime minister Shinzo Abe’s reform drive. It allows investors to accrue tax-free savings.
Chan said the firm’s Ucits range had gained traction in Asia this year, particularly among private banks and asset managers.
She ascribed the uptake to tax benefits available on some exposures to Ucits funds, educational activities the company had engaged in and recently improved liquidity in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
New regulatory reporting requirements under the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca) also played a part, she added.
Chan said iShares aims to drive the adoption of ETFs in Asia as a replacement for futures, and as investment tools for multi-asset investors or as core holdings for retail and institutional portfolios.
As head of the business for Asia, Chan is responsible for both distribution and management of products and offices in Australia, Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan.
She joined BlackRock in July last year in the capital markets role. Her appointment filed a hole that had been left vacant since 2011, when Joe Cavatoni moved to New York to take up a new position running iShares’ capital markets relationships for the Americas.
From September 2011 to April last year, she worked at Deutsche Bank as head of equity structuring group and DBx, the bank’s exchange-traded product subsidiary.
Before joining iShares, she worked from May 2004 to May 2011 at Barclays in Hong Kong, most recently as head of equity and structured funds for Asia, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Before taking over as iShares head, Leung was head of the Asia-Pacific index equity business at BlackRock from December 2009 to May 2012. In that role she was responsible for portfolio management activities across the region, covering iShares and institutional products.
Leung was promoted to succeed Nick Good, who in February 2012 was reassigned to a newly created role as head of strategy and business development for Asia-Pacific.
She reported to Asia-Pacific chairman Mark McCombe before he relocated to the US earlier this year, then his successor Ryan Stork, and global head of iShares Mark Wiedman. Chan will likewise report to Stork and Wiedman.
Leung was senior iShares director for Asia ex-Japan from January 2008 to November 2009. And from July 2001 to July 2007 she was senior portfolio manager at Barclays Global Investors, which BlackRock bought in 2009.
iShares is the largest ETF provider in the world, with more than 700 funds listed globally and assets under management of $994 billion as of June 30. BlackRock’s Asian client AUM was $47 billion, including non-ETF assets.
In July last year it announced it had completed its acquisition of Credit Suisse’s ETF business, which added 58 ETFs to its stable and enabled it to scale up its business in Europe.