Eastspring Investments, the Asian fund management arm of UK insurer Prudential, is busy filling vacant roles after a period of upheaval that has seen three leadership executives and other senior staff depart.

Daryl Ee started in the firm's Singapore headquarters on May 20 as head of institutional sales and consultant relations, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor. He covers clients in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and cross-border China, and looks after consultant relationships globally.

Ee’s arrival follows the January appointments of Glen Lee as head of intermediary sales in Singapore and Matthew Appelstein as US head of institutional, based in Chicago. 

All three of Eastspring's new hires report to Singapore-based head of distribution Xavier Meyer, and they fit with the fund house's goal of bringing in more third-party client money. It has $193 billion under management, around a third of which are assets managed for Prudential.

Daryl Ee

With some 13 years of fund sales experience, Ee most recently worked as a relationship manager in Singapore at Investcorp. The Bahrain-headquartered asset manager declined to comment on his departure.

Ee has also held senior sales roles in Singapore at Amundi and BNP Paribas Asset Management. He had worked alongside Meyer at the latter firm, one industry source noted.

Lee was previously head of wholesale business for Hong Kong and Southeast Asia at UBS Asset Management, and he won't be replaced, said a spokeswoman. Chris Yiu remains head of wholesale client coverage for Hong Kong and Melanie Wong retains the equivalent role for Southeast Asia at the Swiss firm. 

Appelstein was most recently head of US distribution and product at Canada's RBC Global Asset Management. He has been replaced by Michael Refojo, previously head of US institutional sales at the firm.

GAPS TO PLUG

The trio of new Eastspring appointees have filled holes left on the sales desk.

The previous head of institutional business was Mark Yuen, before he left to join Singapore-based Fullerton Fund Management in January.

Koh Hui Jian had been Eastspring’s head of intermediary distribution until she moved internally in July 2018 to Prudential Singapore.

In the US, Pamela Aurbach had worked at Eastspring as senior vice president of institutional sales based in Denver from 2012 (when it set up its US office) to 2016, according to her LinkedIn page.

Glen Lee

The Eastspring spokeswoman declined to comment on a query about who had looked after the responsibilities of Aurbach and Koh since they moved on.

QUESTIONS REMAIN

Eastspring’s move to fill gaps on its team with experienced executives tally with its publicised ambitions to grow the business.

But uncertainty still lingers over the future direction of the firm, both internally and externally, sources familiar with the company told AsianInvestor.

That is perhaps to be expected after the shock February exit of chief executive Guy Strapp, chief financial officer Ted Pull and chief operating officer Phil Stockwell – along with various other departures, including several senior investment staff.

One insider told AsianInvestor that Eastspring staff were still waiting for new CEO Seck Wai-Kwong to unveil his plans for the business.

There has been speculation that the firm may be sold, as it is widely viewed as lacking the scale to prosper as a standalone player in today’s investment industry.

However, an Eastspring spokeswoman stressed in February that Prudential was not looking to sell the fund house and that its strategy and business plans would remain unchanged under Seck. 

This story has been updated to provide details of the former roles of Glen Lee and Matthew Appelstein.