BNY Mellon Asset Management has named Alan Harden as its Asia-Pacific chief executive officer based in Hong Kong.

Harden, who until last August was Asia-Pacific CEO of ING Investment Management, officially started at the firm on June 1. He will be responsible for the firm’s distribution, strategic, financial and operating plans and business development across the region.

His priority once he has familiarised himself with the firm will presumably be to expand its Asia-Pacific assets under management, which at the end of last year represented just under 4% ($45.3 billion) of its global AUM of $1.14 trillion, by AsianInvestor numbers.

A spokesman for BNY Mellon has previously stated that Asia-Pacific is growing at four times the rate of its business in the US and is "contributing significantly" to the firm's development.

BNY Mellon AM has been searching for an Asia-Pacific chief since previous incumbent David Jiang moved last year to affiliate company Mellon Capital in San Francisco, a passive and ETF asset manager. In the interim, the firm's regional asset management leaders have been reporting to Mitchell Harris, interim head of BNY Mellon AM.

However, Louisa Bartoszek, a spokeswoman for BNY Mellon AM in Asia, says Harden is not a like-for-like replacement for the former Asia-Pacific CEO, pointing out that Jiang focused primarily on business development.

"This new position encompasses a greater degree of accountability and responsibility for all strategic, financial and operating plans, as well as business development across the region for asset management," she adds.

"Following David Jiang's relocation elsewhere within the company last year, we took the opportunity to reflect on our current structure and assess what would best position us for future growth. We decided to create a new leadership position, one that will join the leadership team of our global asset management business, to lead our growth in this important region."

Asked if the firm had considered internal candidates for this role, she notes that it had, as well as examining "the vest best leaders across the industry. After a thorough review, it became clear that Alan represented the best fit based on his experience, leadership and track record."

Harden will report to Curtis Arledge, vice-chairman of BNY Mellon and global CEO of BNY Mellon’s investment management division, which includes the asset management and wealth management businesses.

Arledge joined BNY Mellon last November from BlackRock and led the search for Jiang’s replacement. He says Harden will now look to help BNY Mellon AM expand its retail offerings and institutional business in the region.

He praises Harden’s credentials, noting he has spent over 20 years in Asia and the Middle East in a variety of leadership positions. “He has already demonstrated his ability to manage an Asian investment management business through a range of economic environments, including the recent financial crisis,” he states.

In a statement, the firm says Harden will support BNY Mellon AM’s relationship with key clients including sovereign wealth funds and will work closely with BNY Mellon’s Asia-Pacific chairman Steve Lackey to improve client awareness and access to the firm’s overall capabilities.

Harris, who is president of investment management at BNY Mellon, adds: “Placing a senior member of our asset management team in the region is a strong statement of our commitment and desire to deepen our relationships with clients.”

Harden becomes a member of BNY Mellon Asset Management’s executive committee as well as its regional executive committee, which comprises the heads of each of BNY Mellon’s businesses in the region.

Harden had previously worked as Asia-Pacific CEO of ING Investment Management, a business which comprised 1,200 staff across 10 countries in the region with $85 billion in AUM.

Prior to that, Harden was CEO of Alliance Trust, a financial services and investment management firm in the UK. He has spent over 20 years in Asia and the Middle East, at companies such as Wardley (now HSBC Global Asset Management), Scimitar Investment Management (then part of Standard Chartered’s asset-management operations) and Standard Chartered’s consumer-banking division as global head of investment services. He also spent three-and-a-half years as Asia-Pacific head of Citigroup Asset Management based in Japan.

BNY Mellon has 16 offices in 12 countries across the region and employs around 7,000 staff.