Fullerton seeks CEO as Choy takes Harvest vice-chairman role

Choy Peng-Wah joins Harvest Global Investments in Hong Kong as Michele Bang returns to Deutsche Asset Management and Lindsay Wright focuses on alternatives.

Choy Peng-Wah, currently deputy CEO at Singapore’s Fullerton Fund Management, is joining Harvest Global Investments (Harvest GI) in Hong Kong as vice-chairman and CEO as of February 14.

The move steps up Harvest GI’s leadership and ability to realise its ambitions to be an international asset manager, while leaving Fullerton without a chief executive. Harvest GI is a wholly owned subsidiary of Beijing-based Harvest Fund Management.

Choy will report to Zhao Xuejun, CEO of Harvest Fund Management in Beijing. It's a homecoming of sorts, as he previously ran the Southeast Asia business for Deutsche Asset Management, which has a 30% stake in Harvest Fund Management and whose Greater China and Asia equities platforms were spun off in 2008 to create Harvest GI.

His departure raises question marks over who will lead Fullerton, an arm of Temasek that manages both third-party retail money as well as Temasek assets. Gerard Lee, Fullerton’s inaugural CEO, left late last year to take over Lion Capital Management in Singapore. Choy had been Fullerton’s deputy CEO since 2007.

A Fullerton spokeswoman says the firm is seeking a new CEO. Hsieh Fu-Hua, member of the board and executive director and president at Temasek Holdings, Fullerton CIO Chan Chia-lin and COO Wah Geok-Sum are overseeing the search while managing the company day-to-day.

The decision to hire a long-term leader at Harvest GI has been on the cards for a while. It has been led by Michele Bang, the Korean-born managing director and CEO, who previously worked at Deutsche Asset Management.

Bang transferred to Harvest GI when the company was spun out of DeAM’s Asia and Greater China equities platforms, but her tenure there has always been as a secondment, and she has officially remained a DeAM employee.

Her secondment period is now expiring and she is returning to DeAM in a new role as managing director for strategy and business development, Asia-Pacific, still based in Hong Kong. She will report to Mark Cullen, DeAM’s New York-based global COO.

Bang is reluctant to discuss the new role prior to assuming it. She says an important facet will be to spearhead DeAM’s relations with Harvest Fund Management and with Harvest GI, and to facilitate Harvest GI’s development as an international asset manager.

The focus for Harvest GI will remain ‘mini-QFII’, an embryonic scheme in China to allow domestic asset managers to launch A-share products offshore, says Lindsay Wright, Harvest GI vice-chairwoman. Choy Peng-Wah will take over the reins in developing Harvest GI’s product and geographic scope, and is a full-time Harvest GI executive.

Wright helps both Harvest GI and its Beijing parent on strategy, and is overseeing a new alternatives-investment platform, for both the mainland and the offshore Hong Kong entities, to be called Harvest Alternative Investment Partners. This is to be a multi-boutique structure including hedge funds, private equity, real estate and special situations. The platform has already acquired a 30% stake in hedge fund JT Capital and is in the process of acquiring another 30% stake in a mezzanine debt fund.

Bang will have additional responsibilities for developing DeAM’s Asia business but she declines to discuss what’s on the agenda.

Harvest Fund Management manages around $38 billion, while Harvest GI now manages an additional $3 billion.

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