US asset manager Fidelity International has seen a trio of staff leave in recent weeks, the most senior being Carlo Venes, Asia-Pacific head of institutional business in Hong Kong.
Venes quit last week after nearly two years at the firm and will officially leave at the end of September. AsianInvestor was unable to ascertain his destination at press time.
His responsibilities will be assumed by Mark Talbot, who was unavailable for comment. He started on Monday (June 27) as managing director for Asia ex-Japan to drive development in the retail, wholesale and institutional businesses. The handover of duties will be complete by the end of July, confirms a Fidelity spokeswoman.
The regional institutional sales team will now report to Talbot. Asked whether there were plans to replace Venes, the spokeswoman said: “It is all up to Mark. We are not in a position to announce any plans yet.”
Venes worked very closely with Fidelity’s regional institutional teams in terms of business development. He had been reporting directly to regional chief executive Arne Lindman before Talbot joined.
Asked if Venes had left as a result of Talbot’s arrival, a Fidelity spokeswoman suggests “that would be very far from the truth”, and that it was “sheer coincidence that it has happened at a time when Mark has come on board”.
“Mark’s hire had no bearing on Carlo’s decision to leave,” she added. “Arne made the decision to bring in someone senior. He had eight country heads, functional heads [of which Venes is one] and investment heads all reporting into him.
“In order to allow him to give the right attention and leadership in the region, his decision was to hire someone to look after the Asia region and take on some of the functional responsibilities as well.”
Meanwhile, Damien Mooney, regional head of marketing and an eight-year Fidelity veteran, also resigned last week and will join the influx of staff at BlackRock as Asia-Pacific head of marketing in Hong Kong. Katherine Cheung currently holds that post, but will now focus on building up and running the corporate communications division.
Marketing and communications had been combined in the region, but earlier this year BlackRock decided to separate the functions, Cheung tells AsianInvestor. Mooney’s hire is a critical one to support the growth of the firm’s businesses across the region, she adds.
In addition, Sherry Wong – director of product development for Asia at Fidelity since January 2005 – has left and is thought to be joining Prudential Asset Management Singapore. Prudential declined to comment.
Fidelity is seeking replacements for both Mooney and Wong.
These departures follow those of a large proportion of the firm's senior regional executives over the past 18 months or so. The list includes regional MD Chris Ryan, chief financial officer Jonathan O’Brien, head of marketing Brian Henderson, China head Zhan Long and Stuart Guinness, who was product development head and subsequently Korea head.
Still, Fidelity has made senior hires in recent months in the form of Talbot (formerly of Barclays Global Investors) and Larry Chen as head of China (from BNY Mellon).
AsianInvestor estimates put Fidelity as the second-largest independent fund manager active in Asia (after BlackRock), with $141 billion of regional assets under management as of late 2010. The firm doesn’t officially break down its figures by region.