BNP Paribas Asset Management will see its Asia head of insurance strategy leave in mid-September – the second senior departure from its institutional client team since June – and it is unclear whether he will be replaced.

Hong Kong-based Rick Wei has overseen regional coverage of insurance clients at the French firm since January last year, in coordination with the fund house's sales team. Wei, who did not have anybody reporting to him, is believed to be moving to a rival fund house, but AsianInvestor could not ascertain which one. 

Asked whether Wei would be replaced, a BNP Paribas AM spokesman said the firm was "reviewing the role [as to] how it will best fit the strategic goals of BNP Paribas Asset Management’s sales team".

AsianInvestor also asked whether the asset manager was waiting to make a decision on this once it brings in a new Asia-Pacific co-head of distribution to succeed Mark Speciale, who had overseen its institutional business. The distribution title at BNP Paribas AM covers institutional clients, wholesale distribution and intermediaries. The spokesman declined to comment further.  

Speciale has left to move back to his native US, having been the regional co-head of distribution alongside Christian Bucaro – who oversees the Asia-Pacific intermediaries business – since June 2017. 

BNP Paribas AM is not the only fund house to have lost its Asia head of insurance coverage in recent months. Alan Yip left JP Morgan Asset Management last month to join rival Neuberger Berman as Asia-Pacific head of portfolio solutions. JP Morgan AM is seeking a replacement.

Asset managers have been ramping up their coverage of Asia’s fast-growing insurance segment in the past year or two, with a view to tapping its rising demand for overseas assets.

The likes of BlackRock and HSBC Global Asset Management have been strengthening their teams, and other fund houses are expected to do so.

Story updated to reflect Rick Wei's responsibilities as head of insurance strategy and to clarify Mark Speciale's job title.