BNP Paribas Investment Partners (BNPP IP) has bolstered its China-focused resources with two senior hires from HFT Investment Management (HK) to provide structured solutions for institutions and retail distribution.

In addition, BNPP IP is aiming to launch two new funds, including one multi-asset income product focused on Europe.

The firm has hired Henry Li Guangyu, former director of product and business development at HFT, as head of structured products at BNPP IP’s newly-formed ‘Greater China solutions desk’ in Hong Kong.  The firm declined to name the other new hire pending the approval of her licence by the SFC. Both will report to Tan-Feng Cheng, managing director for Greater China.

Cheng said it had become a necessity to have a dedicated resource for structured solutions as China further opens up and reforms its capital market.

“We are spending more time focusing on the biggest area of sales growth, which is Greater China as a block for institutions and retail distribution,” said Cheng. “It has become more challenging to piece together the moving parts, whether it’s cross-border development, RMB internationalisation or the speed of reform in China.”

He added that convergence among asset management, corporate banking and private banking in China had also made it necessary to have a resource that can spot the opportunities and work with the BNP Paribas group globally in finding tailored solutions.

The solutions desk will work with counterparts in sales, product development and investments within the group, including investment and private banking.

Meanwhile, the firm is looking to offer a China-focused private equity fund and a European multi-asset income fund. The former is for various client segments while the latter is for retail and private banking distribution in Hong Kong.

Cheng said he is working with BNP Paribas Capital Partners, the alternative investment arm launched in July 2014, and potential mainland Chinese partners on the China PE project.

“There’s an overall need identified by the sales team,” said Cheng when asked about the driver for the China PE project. “A lot of investors today do look at alternative investments for enhanced yield and diversification.”

He said Chinese private equity is an effective way for capital to find a way to participate in China’s emerging industries, by giving investors the chance to find the next Alibaba.

On the retail front, the firm this week gained approval from the Securities and Futures Commission for the launch of a European multi-asset income fund in Hong Kong.

The fund generates regular income and has a flexible allocation to equities, bonds, cash and real estate. It will also be sold in Korea and Japan. The Luxembourg-domiciled fund launched in 2014 in Singapore following demand from clients and is also distributed in Italy, with a total AUM of $315 million.

Tino Moorrees, BNPP IP chief executive for Hong Kong, explained the timing of the launch: “There are very few European multi-asset funds in Hong Kong so there's less competition in the market. With quantitative easing, people are more positive about Europe’s recovery.”