After merging its emerging markets and Asia-Pacific equity units in April, JP Morgan Asset Management needed someone to help link the teams globally. The US firm’s pick was investment veteran Ayaz Ebrahim, at the time Asia equities CIO at French fund house Amundi.
Ebrahim started in September as JPMAM’s head of Asia-Pacific asset allocation in its emerging markets and Asia Pacific (Emap) equities team, which manages $75 billion. AsianInvestor had already broken the news in June that he would be joining the US fund house, but could not ascertain the details of the position at the time.
Ebrahim reports to Richard Titherington, Hong Kong-based chief investment officer of Emap equities, who relocated from London this year to run the newly combined team of 99 portfolio managers and analysts, excluding traders. The Asia headcount accounts for 65 of this: 25 in Hong Kong, 11 in Singapore, 12 in Taipei, 10 in Tokyo, four in Mumbai and three in Seoul.
Ebrahim is working with portfolio managers in London and New York to help them access the research network in Asia, and vice versa.
But the post is not just strategic in scope – he also has portfolio management responsibilities, which are still being defined. He had wanted to maintain a hands-on investment role, given his experience working in portfolio management since 1991.
Ebrahim feels it is important that his investment experience informs his strategic role. “I have to drink it and eat [portfolio management] every day. It is important to have the day-to-day experience,” he said.
His appointment reflects the increased size and geographical scope of the merged Emap division and the investment industry's steadily rising focus on asset allocation as a method of portfolio diversification and risk mitigation.
Asked whether JPMAM will be adding people in the investment team, Ebrahim said the firm was well resourced and didn not see the need to add people in the short term. “From the discussion I had with the management, I get the impression if resources are required, we will do it. I can’t see the necessity at this point,” he added.
Immediately prior to joining JPMAM, Ebrahim was with Amundi for four-and-a-half years as CIO for Asia ex-Japan equities and deputy CEO for Asia. He also worked at the French firm from 1991 to 2002, which brought his stint with Amundi to 15 years in total. Ebrahim's CV also includes senior roles at HSBC Global AM and Deutsche AM.