BNY Mellon is a quarter of the way through its aggressive two-year expansion plan in Asia-Pacific and expects to unveil up to four senior hires by year-end, its regional chief tells AsianInvestor.

It comes after the US firm announced late last week it had appointed Paul Schulte from China Construction Bank International Securities in a newly created role as head of investment strategy for Asia-Pacific.

Schulte will be tasked with providing the firm’s Asia platform with a global view and a perspective of where Asia sits within that, and he will share that in what is also an external, client-facing role.

Alan Harden, CEO of BNY Mellon’s Asia-Pacific investment management business, says the firm is 25-30% through its hiring process. He says it is still looking for distribution personnel and portfolio managers, both in equity and fixed income.

He puts the firm’s investment group at 15 strong and says he would be happy to double that within the next year, while he wants to triple its product manufacturing capability of 5-6 at present.

“We are keen to talk to portfolio managers either here or in Singapore,” he says. “And product people. What we are looking for is business leaders in product development areas, technicians and people who can really lead a business and product line.”

He adds that he has been focused on bringing in senior leadership, who are building their own teams. He says he is mostly there and will be by the end of this year. “We will have three or four more senior appointments coming up shortly,” he notes, without elaborating.

Most recent senior appointments include Schulte, who reports to Harden and to Jack Malvey, chief global market strategist for investment management based in New York.

Others for the IM business are Jane Caire as head of strategy and development, product and marketing for Asia-Pacific; Duncan Jepson as head of legal; Doni Shamsuddin was transferred to Hong Kong as COO; and Louis Boscia as CFO.

At present BNY Mellon IM has about $85 billion in AUM out of a global total of $1.3 trillion. But Harden says the management focus is about profitability, not AUM.

“We will focus on value-added products and active management,” he says. “If you have great investment performance, raising assets becomes simpler.”

The firm deals largely with institutional clients, but Harden adds that it is building out its intermediary business, although this will take a long time.