London-based ICI Global, a regulatory trade body for the funds industry, will open an office in Hong Kong in May – its first in Asia-Pacific – and has hired Yang Qiumei as regional head.

She looks set to provide added authority and experience in discussions with regulators and associations, as the organisation seeks to expand its roster of Asian members and strengthen its network in the region.

Yang’s career includes 10 years at the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC), where she held roles including commissioner on the planning commission, deputy director general for the department of international affairs and deputy director general for the department of investment fund supervision.

Most recently Yang was head of mainland development at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, where she worked for two years and four months. There she was heavily involved in the bourse’s business development and worked on its acquisition of the London Metal Exchange.

While at the CSRC, Yang was very active within the International Organisation of Securities Commissions, serving on Iosco’s standing committee on investment management and chairing the working group on investment funds in the emerging markets committee. She has also worked as a consultant to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

“Sometimes something happens that is clearly fate,” says Dan Waters, London-based managing director at ICI Global, to whom Yang reports. “When it became clear Qiumei was available, we couldn’t have thought of anyone better for the role.”

ICI Global has been working closely with regulators and fund associations in the region, and those relationships are set to grow stronger following Yang’s arrival.

Yang worked at the CSRC for over 10 years – eight of which included working with Iosco, she notes – both in the international department and then in the department of fund supervision. Her work involved discussions with fund firms and regulators globally.

“Transnational regulatory efforts affecting funds have become the norm,” says Waters. Qiumei is "ideally positioned" to raise issues in this area with the relevant authorities. “She is an accomplished expert in both policy and market development, with a global career spanning three continents.”

On the choice of Hong Kong for the office location, “it is an important gateway to China and is situated very conveniently within the Asia-Pacific region”, says Waters. “Also, the existing membership of ICI Global has a heavy concentration of members here.”

That said, he acknowledges the importance of the other Asian capitals, including Sydney, Japan, Singapore and Taipei.

Since its launch in autumn 2011, ICI Global has expanded its membership to nearly three dozen firms, including Asia-based members such as China Asset Management (Hong Kong), China Universal Asset Management, HuaAn Asset Management (Hong Kong) and Nikko Asset Management.

The Chinese firms signed up late last year, and ICI Global is in discussions with many other potential members, says Waters. “Our ambitions are for far greater numbers.” Last year the trade body also set up a committee in the region to discuss regulatory issues around exchange-traded funds.

Asked about ICI Global’s current areas of focus, Waters points to the US’s Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (Fatca); rules around exchange-traded funds in various jurisdictions; issues around the Volcker rule; Europe’s Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive; proposals on money-market funds; and issues around stock-lending and repo.

“Funds are becoming an increasingly common and important tool for Asian investors,” adds Waters. “It’s natural that fund managers would share more information and insights, and shape a common stance on pressing policy issues.”