BNP Paribas Asset Management has hired Terrence Lam from Franklin Templeton Institutional in Hong Kong to serve as head of sales for institutional and retail business for North Asia.

The move is regarded by industry observers as a good move for BNP Paribas AM, which has a new regional CEO and is trying to boost itself into the top tier of global asset managers in Asia.

Last year saw most of its senior salespeople and investment managers leave. Although the parent company is sound, the firm hadnÆt managed to keep up with French rivals such as Credit Agricole Asset Management or SGAM in Asia, say people familiar with the company. Laurence Lo had run business development for years, and his departure has cleared the way for a new start.

Lo decamped for a small private bank, BSI Generali Bank, last year to run its Asia business from Singapore. Lo took a number of BNP Paribas AM people with him, including the head of its Shanghai joint venture, Andrew Tong. Janice Wu, a saleswoman, left to join State Street Global Investors, while the most senior portfolio manager, Simon Chan, has also recently resigned.

At the beginning of the year, BNP Paribas AM transferred a new executive to run the Asia ex-Japan region from its Paris headquarters: Vincent Trouillard-Perot, ubiquitously known as ôVTPö. Although arriving from Europe, he has plenty of Asia experience, having worked in Korea and served as president of BNP Paribas AMÆs Tokyo office.

And TG Lee represents some continuity: the salesman had joined the firm last year from UBS Global Asset Management, and now reports to Lam.

Lam joins from Franklin Templeton, where he had run institutional sales and institutional product development for the region. He has experience in developing QDII-related products, an area of interest for BNP Paribas AM.

This is the second high-profile defection from Franklin TempletonÆs business-development team, following the loss last year of Wayne Shum to HSBC, where he oversees sales to sovereign wealth funds and central banks.