Alex Au’s Hong Kong-based hedge fund Richland Capital Management has hired Elena Lau to be its new chief operating officer.

She joins from Bank of America-Merrill Lynch, where she worked as a vice-president on the prime broking side, spending five years in client onboarding and client services. She previously worked for Goldman Sachs asset servicing in Hong Kong and JP Morgan financial control in New York.

“After spending fourteen years servicing hedge funds, I’m delighted to go to the buy-side. Richland has been up every year, including 2008,” she says.

Separately, Richland has hired Alden Chung as a portfolio manager. He used to work for Apex Capital Management where he focused on various trading strategies including event driven and equity long/short. Before that he worked as a trader for HSBC. Another trader from Apex Capital, Wing Shek Lau, has also been acquired by Richland.

Richland has $300 million of funds which it manages and advises on. The Richland Asia Absolute Fund has returned 6.1% in the year to end September. Its newer fund sibling, the Richland Emerging Opportunities Fund, won AsianInvestor’s best event driven fund in 2010. The firm is prime brokered by UBS.