HSBC Multimanager has been expanding activities around the globe since its separation with HSBC Investments in September. Under the new structure, HSBC Multimanager will be an independent label in HSBC GroupÆs investment business, which now includes HSBC Investments, Halbis and Sinopia, its structured assets business.

HSBC Multimanager has its beginnings as the fund service arm for HSBCÆs retail distributions outlets. It originally served as a fund research and approval function for the retail and private bank channels, which selects and evaluates funds that HSBC sold. It later developed into a separate business into a æfund managerÆ itself, that researches, packages, and actively manages funds of funds and managers of managers products.

Today it manages $30 billion of assets for clients and advises for another $30 billion in selection. The team includes 45 professionals in 11 markets offering both institutional and retail investors funds of funds and a manager-of-managers service, including in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan and the Middle East.

Mark McCombe, global chief executive of HSBC Group Investment Business, says the goal is for HSBC Multimanager to be among the top-three multi-mangers in asset terms globally within five years. Since the beginning of this year, HSBC has hired seven additional professionals to serve the growing demand for multi-manager services in Asia.

This week, Michelle Hiliman is joining HSBC Multimanager as senior investment manager in Hong Kong. She will report to Nerida Law, head of multimanager, Asia Pacific. Hilliman was previously a senior research analyst at multi-manager rival Northern Trust. Prior to this, she had worked for Canada Trust for three years.

Law says finding experienced talent has been a challenge in Asia. But now her team is fully formed, and 2008 is the year to bring in business. One target: India, where HSBC is lobbying regulators to allow greater offshore investment by institutions.

Other recent moves include two senior appointments in London: Joanna Munro, formerly global chief investment officer of HSBC Investments, as CEO of Multimanager; and Philip Glaze, most recently head of manager research and formerly head of research at competitor Russell Investment Group, as CIO. Back in Hong Kong, Nerida Law, head of multi-manager for Asia Pacific, has a combined role as both business and investment head.