Anthony Fasso, a veteran of the Asia institutional funds management business who had returned to his native Australia with Deutsche Bank's private banking group, is back in Hong Kong.

He now serves as Asia Pacific regional director at Axa Investment Managers Group, in which he oversees operations for both Axa IM and Axa Rosenberg, the specialist global equity investment management affiliate. He will be responsible for the group's offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, while Japan remains a separately managed entity.

"Asia ex-Japan was previously covered out of Tokyo, so this represents a beefing up of Axa's North Asian resources," Fasso says of his newly created position. "The engine room for our business is Singapore and Australia, and there are opportunities we have not yet exploited in North Asia." He will also consider entry strategies into China and India.

Fasso joins the executive committees of both Axa IM and Axa Rosenberg, and reports to Stephane Prunet, CEO of Axa Rosenberg. Both arms will continue to develop their specialist investment capabilities in areas including fixed income, structured products, real estate, alternative assets, private equity and global equities.

Fasso notes that the firm is a major retail funds player in Europe, and has a distribution tie-up with Charles Schwab in the United States. He will review the situation in Asia, but doesn't know yet whether the firm will make a thrust in the direction of retail sales. He may consider selective hires to help with the North Asian institutional business.

Fasso left Hong Kong at the end of 2003 when his then-employer, Bank Julius Baer, closed its Asian business. He had run its institutional business.