The position of CIO at Shenzhen-based China Merchants Fund Management, left vacant by the departure of Guy Uding, has been filled by Gao Yang. China Merchants Fund is a JV between China Merchants Securities and ING Investment Management.

Gao was previously the head of equities at rival Shenzhen firm Bosera Asset Management. Before that, he was a bond trader at China International Capital Corporation.

Uding has been relocated to ING Investment ManagementÆs Hong Kong office as its Asian head of special strategy. Nick Toovey, ING Investment Management's regional head of equities, says UdingÆs new role will see him developing new investment strategies that are not yet covered by existing equities and fixed-income teams in Asia.

Before working as CIO at China Merchants Fund, Uding was the JV's director of growth fund and alternatives. Before that, he was head of technology funds at ING Investment Management in the Netherlands. His internet and technology funds were consistently rated among the best in Europe.

Eddy Belmans, regional general manager for North Asia at ING Investment Management, says the company does not intend to send an ING insider to replace UdingÆs representation of the firm in the JV's management.

China Merchants Fund was one of the earliest Sino-foreign fund JVs in China. The firm is currently a three-way business, with China Merchants Bank, China Merchants Securities and the ING Group each holding one-third of the shares.

According to Z-Ben Advisors data, China Merchants Fund has around Rmb55 billion ($7.9 billion) in assets under management and is the 24th largest fund management firm in China out of 60 in terms of assets. Bosera, meanwhile, has around Rmb222 billion in assets under management, making it the second largest in ChinaÆs fund management industry.

China Merchants Fund obtained a license in January to launch QDII fund. But given the weak investor appetite in China, the firm has adopted a wait-and-see approach, Belmans says.