BNP Paribas Asset Management (BNPP AM) intends to expand its quantitative investment business in Asia and has hired Paul Sandhu as its head of multi-asset quant solutions (MAQS) and client advisory for the Asia-Pacific region.

Sandhu joins today (11 February) from Conning Asia Pacific, where he spent 10 years in various roles, most recently as managing director and head of investment solutions.

In this newly-created role based in Hong Kong, Sandhu will report to Anton Wouters, BNPP AM’s Amsterdam-based head of solutions and client advisory. The MAQS team in Asia comprises three people including Sandhu.

BNPP AM manages $520 billion externally worldwide. Wouters told AsianInvestor that Sandhu's remit is to focus on the Asia Pacific market and work closely with the region’s sales and investment teams in constructing bespoke investment products, multi-asset solutions and overlays for institutional and wholesale distributor clients. 

He added that BNP Paribas is looking to develop its factor investing capabilities and Sandhu will be instrumental in that effort.

“Paul has considerable experience in delivering customised investment solutions to sophisticated investors.  His skill set and proven track record will strengthen the buildout of our factor investing capabilities globally," Wouters said.

Paul Sandhu

At Conning, Sandhu was instrumental in developing the firm’s asset-liability management and strategic asset allocation tools for major institutional clients in China, Japan and Southeast Asia. He also led the establishment of Conning's commercial relationships with top-tier companies in the region.

During Sandhu’s time with Conning, the firm picked up one of AsianInvestor’s marquee awards for Institutional Solutions Provider of the Year on account of its innovative approach to asset-liability modelling for insurers.

Sandhu has told AsianInvestor his strong scientific background (he studied theoretical physics at the University of British Columbia) drives his passion in developing innovative investment strategies, allowing him to use portfolio construction techniques that incorporate machine learning and artificial intelligence.

Sandhu is also an Associate of the Society of Actuaries.

With interest in factor-based investing gradually gaining ground in Asia, more sophisticated institutional asset owners are increasingly asking external managers to implement such strategies.

Some, including insurance asset managers such as BNP Paribas, Ping An and Prudential, are seeking to build up their own factor investing capabilities.

Conning did not immediately respond to AsianInvestor's requests for comment on Sandhu's departure and the company's plans to replace him.

Conning hired Bo Kratz from Northern Trust Asset Management as its new chief executive for Asia-Pacific in August 2015, following the departure of Mark Konyn, who has since joined AIA as group chief investment officer.