Hong Kong-based alternatives investment company Search Investment Group has announced the appointment in Hong Kong of John Williamson in the new role of chief financial officer. He will report to company founder Robert Miller.

Williamson has been a member of the Clearing Consultative Panel of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited since its establishment in April 2000. In December 2006, he joined the board of the Hong Kong Securities Institute.

A spokesperson for Search told AsianInvestor ôJohn has a typical group CFO role. He is responsible for budgeting, internal controls, treasury activities, legal and tax coordination for the Search Group.ö

Williamson joins from Morgan Stanley where he was head of infrastructure and operational risk in Asia. æInfrastructureÆ is a contemporary Wall Street buzzword that has nothing to do with internecine squabbling about who gets the corner harbour-front office. It is a sexed-up replacement for the term æbackofficeÆ, which modern backoffice bankers find unglamorous. It means departments such as finance, information technology, operations, tax and treasury.

Prior to joining Morgan Stanley in 1998, he was chief operating officer of NatWest Securities Asia, a position he had held since 1994. He began his career in the securities industry at stockbrokers Wood MacKenzie & Co. Ltd. in 1983.

Still fronting clients in Asia, Eliza Lau is CEO SearchÆs fund-of-hedge-funds unit, Sail Advisors, while David Pierce is CEO at fund-of-private-equity-funds Squadron Capital Advisors. They separately report to CEO and Chairman Robert Miller, who is chairman and CEO of Search Investment and was founder and now co-owner of Duty Free Shoppers with LVMH.