E Fund targets global growth with BBVA’s Lee

The Chinese house has hired BBVA’s Asia equities head Eugene Lee as global head of sales and marketing. It comes as the Spanish bank shuts its equity sales and structuring desk.
E Fund targets global growth with BBVA’s Lee

E Fund has named Eugene Lee as global head of sales and marketing as part of the Chinese fund house’s international expansion efforts. Lee was previously with BBVA as Asia head of equities.

He joined E Fund this week in Hong Kong and takes on a role that includes the responsibilities of business development director Marie Chew, who is set to exit the firm this month for personal reasons. Lee reports to E Fund Hong Kong managing director Huang Gaohui.

Lee tells AsianInvestor that E Fund’s RMB-denominated qualified foreign institutional investor (RQFII) licence was one of the reasons he decided to make the career move. “This is exclusive to Chinese asset managers and E Fund is the second largest fund management company in China. The growth opportunity is huge,” he states.

However, it’s also true that BBVA Asia is in the process of shutting down its equity derivatives business in Asia. Earlier this year it slashed its equity sales and structuring team, with Lee one of the few survivors, as reported.

A spokesman for the Spanish bank confirms there are now just two people closing existing positions. “Given the fact that the equity derivatives business in Asia will be closed down, we are not looking to hire anyone for that area,” she says when asked if Lee might be replaced.

Lee exited BBVA Asia in May this year. He says what he brings to E fund is a diversified book of clients, an understanding of global investors and a background in investment banking.

Prior to joining BBVA, he held positions as head of structured products at HSBC, structured product sales at JP Morgan and head of UHNW and institutional sales at Morgan Stanley.

“E Fund is entering the next phase of its international development and I am here to help with the overseas expansion,” he adds. “Currently most of our clients are multinational firms situated in Asia. Now we are looking at institutional investors in the US, Latin America and the Middle East.”

Lee’s hire brings E Fund’s business development and marketing team to four people, including Alex Sun on retail distribution and two in marketing and support.

RQFII has become the focus of the international business of E Fund. Its first RQFII fund, launched in February, is a mutual fund that invests mainly in China’s onshore fixed income market. The second is the CSI 100 ETF that listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange on Monday.

According to industry sources, E Fund’s two global emerging market funds, launched last year, are set to close down due to poor fundraising results and investment performance.

E Fund Global Emerging Markets Fund (long-only) has lost 23.3% since its inception last May, while the E Fund RMB Fixed Income Fund RQFII has yielded 2.3% since February 28.

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