Former Janus Capital executive Jack Lin has joined Pioneer Investments as head of Asia and the Middle East to lead the asset manager's regional build-out, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Lin started this week based in Singapore, the firm's regional headquarters. Pioneer is the asset management arm of Italian banking group UniCredit following its acquisition in 2000, although it traces its roots back to Boston in 1928.

Pioneer has €162 billion ($210 billion) in assets under management globally as at December 31 last year, of which 51% is sourced from Italy, 22% from the US, 12% from Germany, 6% from Austria, 6% international and 3% from central and eastern Europe.

The firm does not break out its international numbers, including for Asia, but it's clear that Lin has been hired to source an increase in institutional assets from Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, given that the eurozone is facing a potential recession.

He was brought in above Pioneer's Asia head Angus Stening, who remains with the firm and now reports to Lin, who himself reports to Sandro Pierri, Pioneer's head of distribution of western Europe and international.

Pioneer has its regional headquarters in Singapore, as well as sales and marketing offices in Taipei and Tokyo. It also has a joint venture in India with Bank of Baroda.

In terms of investor profile, the institutional segment makes up the smallest portion of Pioneer's asset base at just 25%, behind retail/private banking at 49% and wholesale at 26%. 

By investment class, Pioneer has 57% of its assets in fixed income, 21% in equity, 18% in balanced/flexible, 3% in money-market and 1% in alternatives.

While on a break for Chinese New Year with family in Taiwan, Lin confirms to AsianInvestor that one of his priorities will be to build out its capabilities in, and penetration of, Asia's institutional marketplace.

"We already have a large retail business in Taiwan, which is ranked number six, and initially I will be looking to make that an even stronger franchise," he says. "Secondly, I will be looking to build a regional institutional team."

Sources indicate that Pioneer has a front-office staff of more than 20 at present.

On Pioneer's regional presence, Lin says that one of the next steps will be to expand into new markets, with South Korea one obvious choice.

Asked whether he might want to enter the Hong Kong market, he replies: "There was a presence in Hong Kong earlier. But it is a very competitive and consultant-driven market that is largely off limits until you acquire positive ratings."

However, while it is not a top priority, he admits that it is likely that Pioneer may seek an entry into Hong Kong as a major financial centre at some point in the future.

Lin spent years with Janus Capital, working through the ranks to become co-CEO of Asia. However, he was one of a number of exits from the firm following the appointment of Augie Cheh from Alliance Bernstein as international president of Janus Capital in January 2011.

Pioneer’s global investment centres are based in Boston, Dublin and London. Globally the firm has over 2,000 staff, of which 340 are investments professionals. Its CEO is Roger Yates, who spent nine years as CEO of Henderson Global Investors before joining Pioneer in January 2010.