First State Investments has expanded its institutional sales team with one hire in Hong Kong and one in Singapore, with a view to attracting more flows into its multi-asset products. The fund house also plans to register retail funds in this space in the coming year.

Vivian Tang has joined the firm, the international arm of Australia's Colonial First State, in Hong Kong as director of institutional business for North Asia.

She moved at the end of last year from Credit Suisse Asset Management, where she was director for distribution working with asset consultants, pension schemes, central banks, endowments and insurance firms. Tang has also held portfolio specialist and product management positions at Invesco and Credit Suisse.

Lauren Prendiville (pictured left) has joined First State as director for institutional business for Southeast Asia in January. She has 14 years' experience working with client segments including pension schemes, central banks, endowments and private clients.

Before joining First State, Prendiville was a fouding partner at Singapore-based consulting firm Investment Marketing Solutions in Singapore. Prior to that, she worked for Goldman Sachs Asset Management in Singapore and London for eight years in institutional sales. She has also done stints at Morgan Stanley Investment Management and Investec Asset Management.

Both Prendiville and Tang report to Alexis Ng, managing director for Southeast Asia and head of distribution for Asia at First State, which runs $157 billion in assets.

In the past year or so, the firm's most popular asset classes have been Asia and China equities and unlisted infrastructure, says head of Asia Pacific Michael Stapleton, and it is seeing rising interesting in multi-asset investments.

First State is looking to benefit from the rising popularity of the latter asset class, leveraging its five-strong multi-asset team in Singapore, set up in 2011. Multi-asset strategies have seen very strong flows in the past year or so, largely driven by institutional investors seeking to mitigate market volatility and achieve stable returns.

First State has until now focused on marketing its capabilities in this area to institutional investors and has won a few mandates, largely in Australia. However, it plans to get multi-asset products onto distribution platforms in the next 12 months, Stapleton tells AsianInvestor.

It hopes to challenge rivals that are well established in this space – the likes of BlackRock, JP Morgan Asset Management and Schroders.