DBS Asset Management gives Lau top job

CIO Lau Wing-tat assumes the CEO mantle as well. Next: go regional.
DBS Asset Management has appointed Lau Wing-tat as CEO in Singapore. The move follows in the wake of chairman Greg Seow's retirement earlier this year.

Lau was already serving as the firmÆs CIO, but had been running much of the day-to-day operations. When the firm hired Amy Yip from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority in Hong Kong as executive chairwoman to replace Seow, she decided to relinquish some of her executive responsibilities for asset management to Lau.

ôItÆs a lot to juggle,ö says Lau of his dual responsibilities, ôbut IÆve been unofficially running the place since Greg left. Amy asked me to take over.ö

He has spent much of the past 12 months building the firmÆs investment teams. DBS-AM suffered from last yearÆs departure by Lim Heong-Chye, its star bond manager, who set up a fixed-income boutique in partnership with local equities player APS Asset Management. Lau had been running the equities team and had to take over both asset classes.

Andrew Kemp now runs fixed income, having joined from Alliance Capital Management (now AllianceBernstein) in Australia, while Chan Kum-kong serves as head of research for equities and credit, joining from Nomura SecuritiesÆ research desk in Shanghai.

Lau has also more recently hired Virginia Noronha in Hong Kong to handle product development. She comes from the Securities and Futures Commission, where she had been responsible for approving fund products.

Now that heÆs officially running the asset management business, Lau says his goal next year is to turn DBS-AM into a regional player. ôWe will transform ourselves from a primarily Singapore/Malaysia shop into a regional platform,ö he says.

In addition to offices in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and Hong Kong, the firm has recently agreed to acquire a 33% stake in Beijing-based Changsheng Fund Management, pending regulatory approval.

DBS Bank also has a joint venture in India, Chola Mandalam DBS Finance, and a stake in Thai Military Bank. Both of these institutions have asset-management arms, and Lau is keen to cooperate with these. He cites a recent example of a China A-share fund that DBS Asset Management launched in September that is sub-advised by Changsheng. ôIÆd like to see more of that sort of thing in the future,ö Lau says.
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