Alan Harden, Tokyo-based managing director for Asia-Pacific at Citigroup Asset Management, has been squeezed out by cost-cutting as the firm looks to streamline its business. Although still with the firm, his CV is making the rounds in Japan as he may not find a suitable position within the organization, given the shrinking fund industry in America and Europe.

Harden ran the retail and high-net worth side of a business that covered Japan, Asia and Australia alongside a separate institutional business. He had joined the firm three years ago from Standard Chartered Bank, where he had run investment services (now a part of its wealth management business).

Trying to manage Asia and Australia from Tokyo has always been a challenge for global fund managers, and now at Citigroup Japan is being split off with its own reporting line. At the same time, Citigroup has found having parallel structures for retail and institutional business throughout the region is simply duplicating a lot of functions, particularly in the back and middle office. So it is combining those - not just in Asia and Japan, but globally as well.

Masato Yukawa will head the combined business in Japan in an internal promotion. Market sources say localizing the position is a big money saver, although they add it carries the risk of bumpy communication with the head office, which is still difficult for most Japanese executives.

Denise Allen is taking over as head of institutional and retail/high-net worth for Australia and Asia. Based in Melbourne, she has run the firm's institutional business in Australia and earlier this year was also handed Asia. Now she adds Asia/Oz retail business to her brief. Both Yukawa and Allen now report to US-based Rama Krishna, CIO and head of institutional and international (non-US) businesses.

A spokeswoman in Hong Kong says the internal changes should be invisible to clients. Hong Kong-based Anthony Muh, regional CIO, retains his position, for example.