Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management (EdR AM) had a very busy March. The Paris-based firm moved to a larger Hong Kong office and hired Lavin Mok as head of Asia sales and Bryan Yip to manage China equities. It will also move its Asia ex-Japan fund manager, David Gaud, from Paris to Hong Kong in the next few months.
In his newly created role, Mok will manage the regional sales and marketing team, and develop and maintain client relationships and distribution networks across Asia, particularly in Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore and Taiwan. His previous role was as managing director at Tremont Capital Management in Hong Kong, where he ran fund-of-hedge-funds sales for Asia until June last year. A source familiar with the firm says he has not been replaced.
Yip arrived in March to cover Chinese equities and reports to Yi Tang, lead manager for Chinese equities, while Gaud will be doing a lot of travelling in the coming months before he relocates. In the meantime, the firm will hire more fund managers, with their location depending on the individuals in question. Hong Kong is EdR AM's only fund-manufacturing base other than Paris, notes Mok.
The new office in Hong Kong's Exchange Square 2 is four times the size of the old one in Exchange Square 1, signalling the firm's plans to expand further, both on the investment and marketing side. However, it is hiring relatively slowly, says Mok, as it wishes to avoid rapidly ramping up and then being forced to downsize if the market does not continue its recovery as is hoped.
Meanwhile, EdR AM plans to distribute more retail funds in Taiwan in the near future, he says, and is also looking at setting up distribution agreements with private banks and pitching for institutional mandates across the region.
EdR AM's Paris-based chief investment officer, Bruno Vanier, told AsianInvestor in November that the firm would be building up its China franchise before expanding across the region. And the firm launched an emerging-markets convertible-bond fund on December 31, with a major focus on Asia-sourced assets. It has raised $38.5 million for the product as of 9 April.
Before his stint at Tremont, Mok was a managing director at Oppenheimer Funds, running the Asia operation with a focus on business development in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan. Mok started his career in asset management with Axa Asset Management in Hong Kong in 1996, then joined Invesco in 1998 where his roles included Asia head of retail sales.
EdR AM specialises in managing equities, convertible bonds and asset allocation for institutional investors, banking and insurance company partners and distribution platforms. As of March 31, the firm had €12.9 billion under management, of which €1.9 billion was in Asian and emerging equities.