The asset management division at Credit Suisse has announced the hiring of Conrad Yan and other distribution executives around the world in a new strategy to change the way it sells its products.

Previously, it relied on its investment bankers and country heads to push investment products. In 2006, the group binned the name "Credit Suisse Asset Management", preferring to integrate this activity with investment banking and wealth management. (Other groups also rebranded themselves simply as "Credit Suisse".) CS did have salespeople in asset management, but these have been product-specific, rather than charged with driving business for the entire division.

Salman Shoaib, head of asset management for Asia Pacific, says the integrated model continues in terms of product development. He says an important measure of performance is collaborative revenue. Investment bankers, private bankers and country heads will still represent asset-management products, but the asset-management division has decided it cannot rely on them alone to market its wares most effectively.

The move is also an outgrowth of the decision to sell much of the firm's long-only businesses to Aberdeen Asset Management. It expects deals for businesses in Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore to be finalized by the end of this month.

The group has appointed 18 senior executives to institutional distribution worldwide under the leadership of Mark Bourgeois, managing director in New York. Bourgeois was hired last year and reports to Rob Shafir, global asset management CEO in New York.

Shoaib says the firm's focus is on alternative investments -- hedge funds, private equity, real estate -- and on multi-asset class solutions, which includes long-only credit and equities in Switzerland and Brazil. The firm also retains its stake in a mutual funds joint venture with ICBC in China, as well as in China Renaissance Capital, a China-focused private-equity JV with Mark Qiu. The firm also has a quantitative beta and ETF product range.

CS still manages around $400 billion worldwide, and the assets sold to Aberdeen amount to around $65 billion; so asset management remains a major focus for the firm. But it wants to promote those areas, such as alternative investments, where it has "scale, focus and profitability," Shoaib says. (Shoaib reports both to Rob Shafir and to Credit Suisse Asia-Pacific CEO Kai Nargolwala; he and Mark Bourgeois sit on the firm's global asset management committee.)

Yan will be responsible for distribution in Asia. He has served for nine years as regional head of business development at AIG Investments, which had a similar line of business (private equity, real estate, infrastructure and funds of hedge funds). AIG Investments is in the process of being sold to raise cash for its stricken parent.

The firm has also hired Filo Sedillo as managing director in Sydney, covering institutions in Australia and New Zealand. He joins in early May from Citi, where he had been head of alternative investments for those markets.

In Japan, the firm has given Akira Takahashi, managing director in Tokyo, a similar role as Yan and Sedillo; he previously led distribution for alternative investments in Japan, and was a product specialist in the funds and alternative solutions group.

In Dubai, Jamal al Naif has joined as MD responsible for coverage of the Middle East and North Africa. He previously worked at Citi as head of its Middle East institutional sales effort.

CS has also made more appointments to support distribution in Asia. Andrew Crawford has joined from Deutsche Asset Management. Based in Singapore, he will cover Southeast Asia and report to Conrad Yan. He previously ran sales for absolute-return strategies in Asia, Australia and the Middle East at DeAM.

Yuko Hoshino, a director based in Tokyo, will cover pension plans and trust banks in Japan. Previously, Hoshino was a product specialist in the funds and alternative solutions group.

Jackie Lin has joined as a director in Hong Kong, covering institutional clients in Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. She joins from JP Morgan, where she was responsible for leading the development of institutional coverage in China for the equity derivatives group.

The other key figures who already work at CS include: SD Chu, Hong Kong-based director responsible for covering Korean institutions; Omar Cordes, head of marketing and investment solutions for Asia-Pacific; and Rami Hayek, head of private banking and third-party distribution for asset management in Asia-Pacific.

Other key distribution hires outside of Asia include Richard Johnson in New York, Dave McCann in Toronto, and Remy Kawkabani, Mark Memmert and Alex Ricchebuono in London.