BlackRock’s EM shuffle puts Asia centre stage

The asset manager has put its global emerging markets head in Asia and added other staff there, underlining the importance of the region both to the firm and within the EM universe.
BlackRock’s EM shuffle puts Asia centre stage

BlackRock has reshuffled the management of its global emerging markets (GEM) division, which sees the team’s leadership relocated to Asia Pacific and additional staff appointed in the region.

Effective on March 29, Andrew Swan, Hong Kong-based head of Asian equities, has seen his role expanded to include oversight of GEM equity.

Luiz Soares, New York-based head of global emerging markets, will leave the US fund house, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor.

BlackRock has also named Belinda Boa, head of Asia-Pacific active investments, to the additional role of chief investment officer for EM in the fundamental active equity division. Based in Hong Kong, she will work with EM professionals covering Latin America, emerging Europe and Asia equities.

Moreover, Gordon Fraser, a portfolio manager in the GEM equity team, will relocate to Hong Kong from London in the course of next few months, to assume GEM portfolio management responsibilities alongside Swan.

BlackRock is also expanding its local research capabilities. Doug Chow will take up a newly created role in April as global head of active equities integration and data, based in Hong Kong. Chow was most recently a portfolio manager at Fidelity, and his reponsibilities have been assumed by the team, said a spokesman.

BlackRock is not the only large fund house to have made such a statement of intent in Asia. In 2015 JP Morgan Asset Management moved Richard Titherington, global head of emerging-market and Asia-Pacific equities, to Hong Kong from London.

HSBC, too, locates several of the global heads of parts of its asset and wealth management arms in Hong Kong, although that is also a reflection of its global headquarters being split across London and Hong Kong.

BlackRock said the latest changes reflected the importance of the Asia-Pacific region to EM strategies. Asia ex-Japan now comprises 70% of the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and this could increase to 80% over the next five to 10 years if the Chinese A-share market sees full inclusion, added the company.

BlackRock remains the biggest manager of assets in Asia Pacific among global firms, with $440 billion under management in the region of its global $5.1 trillion in AUM, as of end-September last year, by AsianInvestor data. Indeed, it is the the third biggest manager in the region, even taking into account Asian players.

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

This story has been updated to clarify that Boa remains Asia-Pacific head of active investments

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.