Fund house Eastspring Investments has confirmed the appointment of Au King Lun from Bank of China Hong Kong Asset Management as chief executive of its Hong Kong business.

The appointment, revealed exclusively by AsianInvestor, will see Au take over what the company says is a newly created role to focus on setting the strategic direction of the unit in Hong Kong.

Au will now be responsible for growing the Hong Kong operation, specifically as a gateway to cross-border activities with mainland China. He will also have responsibility for growing the firm’s institutional business, working closely with deputy CEO Michele Bang.

Guy Strapp, regional chief executive officer of Eastspring Investments for the past two-and-a-half years, has previously been listed as responsible officer in Hong Kong.

In a statement, Strapp noted that Eastspring’s Hong Kong team would benefit from Au’s knowledge of the local asset management industry. “[Au] will play a key role in helping to establish our cross-border activities with China, as well as making a broader contribution to our global business strategy.”

Au was unavailable for interview as AsianInvestor went to press. Eastspring Investments is Prudential’s asset management business in Asia, with operations in 10 regional markets and $125 billion in AUM as at September 30 this year.

Au had served as CEO of Bank of China’s Hong Kong asset management unit since 2010, but officially left his position last week.

Wayne Shum, who has served as BOC HK Asset Management’s head of institutional business for the past two years, has been named as acting CEO. It is understood he will perform a dual role, at least on an interim basis.

A BOC HK spokesperson told AsianInvestor: “It is standard procedure for the group to install an acting CEO. It has been discussed internally. We have a stable team and we will continue to do what we have been doing. It is not the time to say what will happen next.”

Asked whether BOC HK Asset Management would look to launch a recruitment process to include internal and external candidates to replace Au, the spokesman declined to comment.

Au was awarded the Medal of Honour by the Hong Kong government for valuable contributions to the securities and asset management industry in July 2008.

He has served as chairman of the Hong Kong Investment Funds Association and also as chairman of the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute.

A graduate of Oxford University, Au has worked in the industry since January 1987, serving for more than five years as director of quantitative investment for Baring Asset Management based in London.

He relocated to Hong Kong in 1992 as a managing director with GMO, where he worked for nearly five years.

In July 1997 he joined HSBC Global Asset Management (Hong Kong), where he worked for 11 years as director and head of institutional business for Asia Pacific.

In September 2008 – the month that Lehman Brothers collapsed – he started as chief executive officer for Asia ex-Japan and Korea at FRM Hong Kong, working there for a little over a year-and-a-half before joining BOC HK Asset Management.

Shum has served as managing director and head of institutional business at BOC HK Asset Management since January 2014. He had been hired from Baring Asset Management, where he was regional head of institutional business for Asia.

He too worked at HSBC Global Asset Management, serving for nearly three years as head of sovereigns and supranationals for Asia Pacific based in Hong Kong.

Prior to that he was managing director for Asia ex-Japan institutional business at Franklin Templeton Investments also in Hong Kong.

He began his career as an investment consultant for Mercer in July 1995 based in Toronto, transferring with the company to Hong Kong in April 2001 to become director of investment consulting for North Asia.