BNY Mellon Investment Management’s Navin Suri has left his role as Asia head of intermediary distribution and is not yet thought to have been replaced.

He handed in his resignation for personal reasons late last year, after becoming the US firm’s first intermediaries head for the region in October 2012 as part of an aggressive regional buildout.  

Suri had rejoined Alan Harden, Asia-Pacific chief executive of BNY Mellon IM, with whom he had worked at ING Investment Management; he was appointed with a mandate to build out an intermediary business. BNY Mellon IM’s franchise in the region had previously been largely institutional.

The firm is thought to be considering its options for filling the vacancy. Some in the market suggest that Eric Fu, hired in January last year as Suri’s number two, will assume the role.

A BNY Mellon spokeswoman declined to comment, apart from to say that, since Suri’s departure, the intermediary business has continued to grow. She cites as examples of this the success of the Japan equity and global dividend strategies the firm recently launched in Asia.

Fu joined as a managing director and had previously worked in retail and institutional businesses at HSBC and Fidelity.

At the time of Suri’s hire, industry observers had suggested it would not be an easy ride for BNY Mellon to break into the retail space. One Asia funds veteran questioned which of the major distributors would be potential sellers of BNY Mellon funds.

He suggested that Citi, HSBC and Standard Chartered may be unlikely “to go out of their way to sell BNY Mellon products”, given that they are rivals in the asset-servicing space.

The main focus of the role is build partnerships with consumer banks, private banks and family offices, insurance and pension providers, securities companies and independent financial advisers, among other channels.

Before joining BNY Mellon, Suri had been chief executive of ING Investment Management’s India business. He worked at the firm for four years after joining in 2008, with his path having crossed with Harden, who was Asia-Pacific CEO at ING IM until August 2010.

Suri also spent two years as retail sales and distribution head for Asia-Pacific at Citibank, and sales and distribution head for the Asia-Pacific investment business at the same firm.