HKMA shuffles investment chiefs

Hong Kong's de facto central bank has hired an ex-Goldman Sachs executive as head of external managers and appointed new heads of asset allocation and direct real estate.
HKMA shuffles investment chiefs

Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is ringing senior changes to its investment team, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Last month Goldman Sachs alumnus Albert Goh joined as head of external managers and Kenny Lam left his role as chief manager of direct investment in the real estate team, confirmed a spokesman for HKMA, which has HK$3.9 trillion ($499.3 billion) in reserves.

Martin Matsui had previously run the external managers division at the de facto central bank since May 2012, but he moved to become head of asset allocation on April 10 this year. Goh's appointment fills this vacant role.  

Before Matsui switched positions, Christopher Chan had held dual titles as head of asset allocation and co-head of direct investment alongside Clara Chan, said the spokesman. Christopher is now solely co-head of direct investment.

Meanwhile, Lam left on August 24, having run the direct property investment team since February 1 this year. He had joined HKMA in March 2015 and is now understood to have another job lined up elsewhere, but AsianInvestor could not ascertain what it might be by press time. 

Samson Wong, another member of the real estate investment team, will take on Lam’s former role. Wong has been with HKMA since July 2009, according to his LinkedIn page.

Goh was formerly a managing director in Goldman's securities division in Hong Kong, but his Securities and Futures Commission licence with the bank finished on May 31 last year. AsianInvestor could not ascertain what he had been doing since then.

Goh had been with Goldman since May 2003, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that he worked at JP Morgan since January 1996, most recently as Asia-Pacific head of equity capital and derivatives markets origination. He has also worked as a solicitor at law firm Slaughter and May.

Big changes

The personnel changes follow a period of big changes at HKMA, noted industry observers. It set up the Future Fund on January 1, 2016 as a carveout from its Exchange Fund as a way to alleviate potential structural deficits in the coming decade.

The Future Fund’s mandate is to put half of its assets—currently standing at HK$224.53 billion ($28.8 billion)—in alternatives and the rest in bonds, equities or other long-term investment products.

HKMA also set up the Infrastructure Financing Faciliation Office in July last year as a platform to facilitate infrastructure investments and their financing. One of its objectives is to help China's Belt and Road initiative to develop.

Moreover, this month it pledged $1 billion to a World Bank-associated scheme focused mainly on emerging market infrastructure, underscoring its shift into this area. The Managed Co-lending Portfolio Progamme is run by International Finance Corporation, the private-sector arm of the World Bank. 

HKMA's Exchange Fund had HK$3.9 trillion in assets at the end of June 2017, an increase of HK$286.2 billion since the end of 2016.

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