Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, a public fund with C$327 billion ($265 billion) under management, has poached Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s head of Greater China equity as part of its swift buildup in Asia, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Alina Chiew moved on after some 11 years at the US firm to join CPPIB last month as senior portfolio manager on the active fundamental equities team, which runs long/short strategies, confirmed a CPPIB spokesman. Her departure from GSAM was first reported by AsianInvestor.

Chiew remains in Hong Kong and will presumably retain at least some focus on China stocks, but the spokesman declined to comment further on her role.

Her appointment is in keeping with the fund’s ambitions to build its emerging-market exposure and internal expertise. It also reflects the continued opening of the Chinese market to foreign investors through developments such as the Stock Connect trading link between China and Hong Kong and index provider MSCI's partial inclusion of A shares in its emerging-market benchmarks.

CPPIB holds quota under both China's qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) scheme and its renminbi-baed equivalent (RQFII), which allow it to directly purchase onshore mainland securities.

Chiew’s hire also came as CPPIB has been growing its credit investment team in Asia, having added two executives to bring it up to five in the region. 

In fiscal-year 2017 the institution expanded its workforce to support its investment programmes and global operation, said the spokesman. In the 12 months to March 31 this year, the Hong Kong office swelled to 83 from 65, while the team in Mumbai grew to eight from six.

He added that in February this year CPPIB had formalised its operations in Sydney with a standalone office, which now has six staff.

Chiew has long experience of investing in Chinese stocks. She had lead-managed GSAM’s China Opportunities Equity fund, which as of August 31 had returned 32.2% in the 12 months to that date, 60.6% over three years and 106.9% over five years. 

GSAM has promoted Guan Shao-Ping, a member of the China equity investment team, to replace Chiew. He previously focused on consumer and industrials sector coverage and retains that responsibility; he has been with the team since 2007.