BNY Mellon Investment Management’s aggressive Asia expansion continues with the hire of Eric Fu as a managing director. He has worked in retail and institutional businesses at HSBC and Fidelity.

Fu is a widely respected executive, according to several industry figures. He has a lot of experience in sales and marketing, but this would seem to be a return to earlier roots in external business-building, says a Hong Kong-based headhunter, “and that’s probably his forte”.

A spokeswoman declined to give specific details, apart from to say: “He will be helping us as we round out our distribution strategy. We look forward to telling you more in due course.”

BNY Mellon IM already has a well established institutional business in Asia, adds the unnamed recruiter, so it seems to be looking to do more on the intermediary front, with a view to creating a retail brand around BNY Mellon.

It may not be an easy ride, however. One Asia funds industry veteran questions which of the major distributors would be potential sellers of BNY Mellon funds. He suggests that Citi, HSBC and even Standard Chartered may be unlikely “to go out of their way to sell BNY Mellon products”, given that they are fierce rivals in the asset-servicing space.

Fu’s arrival follows that of Navin Suri in October as head of intermediary distribution and Wendy Lim in Singapore in November as Asia-Pacific head of business development.

Asked how Fu would fit into the team, the spokesman says only: “Eric, Wendy and Navin will work closely together and are key to our overall growth strategy.” Fu reports to Suri.

Fu was previously head of wealth development for retail banking and wealth management in Hong Kong at HSBC, a position he held since May 2011. Before that he had been regional business manager at the bank for wealth management in Asia-Pacific for about a year. HSBC plans to replace Fu, but has not yet done so.

He spent nearly two years as chief marketing officer at China Southern Fund Management, before which he had been with Fidelity Investments for eight-and-a-half years, first as head of retail business in Hong Kong, then as head of institutional business for Hong Kong and China. 

Meanwhile, Rosemarie Kriesel last week took on the additional role of country head and general manager for Hong Kong. She replaces Andrew Gordon, who had also been Asia-Pacific head of alternative and broker-dealer services and left the firm late last year, as reported by AsianInvestor.

Kriesel retains her position as head of global client management for Hong Kong, in which role she supports both investment management and investment services.

In addition, Sammi Cho joined BNY IM as chief administrative officer for investment management in October in Hong Kong from AIG Asset Management, where she was Asia COO. As the first permanent regional CAO, she replaced Jean-Paul Lim, who was on temporary assignment from the UK.

BNY Mellon IM has been hiring aggressively since the arrival of Alan Harden as Asia-Pacific chief executive in mid-2011. The unnamed recruiter says the firm’s IM headcount has risen from 10 dedicated Asia-Pacific staff in 2011 to around 50 now, with additions largely coming in operational infrastructure and sales.

BNY Mellon IM declined to confirm numbers, and would say only: “In line with our plan to strengthen our business we have added staff across many functions and disciplines throughout the Asia-Pacific region.”