Fidelity Investment Management is preparing to announce a replacement for Zhan Long in Hong Kong after confirming he has quit as its managing director for China.

“Long Zhan is leaving Fidelity to move back to mainland China with his family and to pursue another opportunity,” a Fidelity spokeswoman in Hong Kong said.

Zhan, 42, is expected to become general manager for Bank of Communications Schroder Fund Management in Shanghai, although an official announcement has yet to be made. The general manager position has been vacant since the departure of Taishan Mo in late September.

The Fidelity spokeswoman added that a replacement would be announced shortly, while stressing that the firm still boasted a deep and experienced China team.

While Zhan is hardly a veteran at Fidelity – he joined in May 2008 – he is regarded as a very experienced fund management specialist and therefore a loss to the firm. Prior to joining Fidelity, he was vice-general manager at China Merchants Fund Management from January 2003 to February 2008.

Zhan gained kudos for helping to set up the joint-venture between China Merchants Fund Management and ING – the first JV fund management firm in China. At the time he was China country manager with ING Investment Management, from 2001 to 2002.

The position of general manager at BoCom Schroder became available after Mo left last month to join Chongyang Investment Management, the largest private hedge fund in China.

David Lui, BoCom Schroder’s non-executive vice-chairman, has since taken over as acting general manager in a position it is said he will hold for no more than 90 days.

Therefore, if the speculation is true, Zhan will be on board in Shanghai by the end of December. Zhan, however, could not be reached for comment. 

A well-placed source told AsianInvestor that staff at BoCom Schroder had heard about Zhan’s move but were still awaiting official confirmation.

He added that Zhan would be expected to leverage his expertise in international capital markets to help restore BoCom Schroder’s industry leadership position after the exit of several senior managers over the past year.

Besides the loss of Mo, BoCom Schroder has seen CIO Xuli Li, star fund manager Tuo Zheng, its general manager of segregated account investment Feng Zhao and sales director Bin Shen leave the company to join private hedge funds or start their own business.

BoCom Schroder saw its assets under management sink 40% in the first six months of this year to Rmb55.4 billion ($8.3 billion) at June 30, from Rmb92.3 billion at the end of 2009.

It appears that when the new general manager comes on board, one of their first priorities will be to stabilise the company’s management team.