Fubon Asset Management has appointed Shi Gang as its new chairman after former incumbent Thomas Tsao quit, according to a filing released by parent Fubon Financial Holding this week.

Tsao’s sudden resignation has come as a surprise as his term at Fubon AM was due to run for three years from October 1, 2009. Local media has speculated that his exit was because his management style conflicted with the corporate culture of the parent company.

Fubon Financial Holdings declined to comment on Tsao's departure.

Shi Gang’s term as chairman at Fubon AM is due to run until March 27, 2014. He will also serve as director of its joint-venture fund management company in Beijing – Fubon Founder Fund Management.

The filing states that Shi “is expected to fully apply his management experience in the securities and futures industry, combined with his understanding of the mainland China market, to take Fubon AM to the next level”.

Before his new appointment, Shi was working as vice-chairman of Fubon Securities, a position he took up on June 24 last year in a contract that ran until June 23, 2014. He joined Fubon in 1998 and has held multiple senior positions including vice-general manager of financial products at Fubon Securities and chairman of Fubon Futures.

Tsao is well-known and one of the longest serving senior managers in the fund management industry in Taiwan. Before joining Fubon, he served as president of Prudential Securities Investment Trust and then Greater China president of Prudential Group. He also helped set up Citic Prudential, a JV fund management company in Shanghai.

Fubon AM hired him in 2009, partially because of his experience both in Taiwan and mainland China when the company was getting ready to roll out its mutual fund business in China.

The JV -- Founder Fubon Fund Management -- was set up on July 25 last year, with Fubon investing Rmb66 million for a 33.3% stake. The JV launched a domestic equity fund last December and is now waiting for its second equity fund to be approved.

Fubon AM was also among the first batch of Taiwanese fund houses to receive a qualified foreign institutional investor (QFII) licence in November 2010. It was subsequently awarded an investment quota of Rmb100 million and launched the first A-share ETF in Taiwan -- Fubon Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE) 180 ETF -- last September.