Gregory Suen will leave HSBC Global Asset Management at the end of September after lead-managing its Asian bond strategy since April 2011.

HSBC, which plans to replace Suen as Hong Kong-based investment director, said his responsibilities would be passed to other members of the team led by Cecilia Chan, chief investment officer of Asian fixed income and co-manager of the strategy since May 2000. 

A spokeswoman for HSBC said: “Our team based approach will ensure a smooth transition and our investment process and philosophy remain entirely unchanged.”
Cecilia Chan

Research firm Morningstar said it retained a neutral weighting for the HSBC Asian Bond Fund, citing the bench strength of the team and the continuity provided by Chan.

She had managed the fund for more than a decade before taking a back seat when Suen came on board, added Morningstar in a client note issued on Tuesday.

“However, we continue to have reservations surrounding the investment process, particularly its conservative nature, which has led to average returns,” Morningstar said. “We have yet to see how this would evolve under the helm of a new portfolio manager.”

While the strategy presents itself as a “sensible core-Asian bond offering for risk-aware investors”, the team “could benefit from further leveraging its risk bandwidth”, the note added.

Gregory Suen

As of close of business on Tuesday, the Asian Bond Fund had $2.23 billion under management.

During Suen’s tenure to June-end 2019, the strategy delivered averaged returns of 4.35%, according to Morningstar. That put it in the 25th percentile against a peer group that mostly excludes investment-grade funds, while lagging its benchmark by 91 basis points.

The HSBC spokeswoman said the fund house was in the process of identifying a candidate with a strong credit background and would make an announcement in due course.

She declined to comment on how much Suen had overseen in total, including other funds and institutional accounts, or the assets under management that HSBC AM has in total across Asian fixed income markets.
 
Morningstar records show him to be also involved in the management of the HSBC Asia High Income Bond Fund ($1.09 billion) and HSBC RMB Bond Fund ($180 million).

Suen previously also worked for Fortis Investments and Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission. AsianInvestor could not ascertain his next destination. He did not respond to an emailed request for comment sent late Tuesday.