US-based Dimensional Fund Advisors, with over $200 billion of assets under management, has hired Carlo Venes to expand its institutional business in Asia ex-Japan.

The former head of institutional business for the region at Fidelity is currently based at Dimensional’s headquarters in Austin, Texas. He will return to Asia in the next few months once the firm has decided which city to base itself in.

Eduardo Repetto, co-CEO at Dimensional in Austin, says a separate Japan office is “a work in progress” but on the firm’s drawing board.

The firm already has Asia-based institutional investors, including sovereign wealth funds and pension funds. Venes’ role is to market and run client servicing proactively in the local timezone.

Over time, the Asia office will grow to include not just salespeople and client support, but also traders and portfolio managers, says Repetto. He notes that the firm’s Sydney and London offices, which have been operational since the 1980s, have a full complement of roles, as does its other US office in Los Angeles.

Dimensional was founded in 1981. Its assets under management comprise roughly 70% equities, with a focus on small caps or other niche strategies, and 30% global fixed income. It has run Asia-Pacific and Japan strategies since the early 1990s. It has marketing offices in Vancouver, Amsterdam and Berlin.

Repetto describes the firm’s style as a marriage of academic research and practical investment and trading.

Venes, a native of the Netherlands, previously ran Fidelity’s institutional business in Asia ex-Japan, overseeing teams and client relationships in 10 markets. He also held a number of sales and marketing roles at ING Investment Management in Asia.