Asia continues to lag other regions for integrating ESG principles with investing; better data and stronger regulatory requirements will help institutional investors, market observers say.
Conxicoeur, who is now the CEO of Sinopia Asset Management Asia-Pacific û the quantitative investment arm of HSBC Global AM û will begin the new job on August 1. He will take over the post vacated by Au King-lun, who has accepted an offer from global fund of hedge funds group Financial Risk Management (FRM) to be the CEO of its Hong Kong operations. [Please see separate story.]
Rudolf Apenbrink, Asia-Pacific CEO at HSBC Global AM, says he wants the group to be known as a premier manager for the regionÆs sovereign wealth funds, which is expected to be a major source of new business in the coming years. He wants to see the overall AUM for the asset management group to double by 2013. While he believes HSBC Global AMÆs retail and wholesale businesses still have room to grow, Apenbrink is placing special attention on revamping the brand to become a premier institutional house in Asia.
In Asia, investors have a misperception that HSBC is mainly retail, Apenbrink says. ôThat is definitely not the case,ö he says. HSBC Global AM is now a $70 billion business in Asia, of which 50% comes from institutions.
Looking ahead, Apenbrink expects the growing assets of sovereign wealth funds will shape the institutional business of the asset management industry. In China alone, sovereign wealth funds are expected to outsource up to $320 billion of their assets to external managers by 2010, according to Z-Ben Advisors. Regionally, Taiwan, Japan and India have plans to follow similar structures to those in Singapore and Korea.
Conxicoeur is a Sinopia veteran, having worked for the company for 16 years. A graduate of Lyon Graduate School of Business (now E.M. Lyon) in France in 1990, he first joined Sinopia in 1992 and was posted to Asia in 2000, first in Japan, By 2004, he was made CEO of Sinopia Asset Management in Hong Kong. Prior to Sinopia, he had a two-year stint with the Japan Gamma Asset Management in Tokyo.
ConxicoeurÆs appointment will be followed by naming a ôhigh profileö head of institutional sales at a later date, says Apenbrink. The move will split the business management and sales functions previously held by Au.
Conxicoeur will help carry out ApenbrinkÆs reforms for the Asian business. Apenbrink has already revamped HSBCÆs organisation platform, introduced new products and streamlined its product shelf, enhanced the cross-border connection between sales and product manufacturing platforms in Asia with HSBCÆs headquarters in Paris and New York, as well as expanded business to Australia.
ôOne of the first things that I did when I arrived is give the institutional team a more focused and a much clearer organisational structure,ö Apenbrink says. The reporting structure under Apenbrink has now been simplified to three pillars û institutional marketing, institutional client management and institutional sales, which will all report to Conxicoeur from August onwards.
Apenbrink has also reshaped HSBCÆs focus to global emerging market equities and fixed income, where he felt HSBCÆs track record is the strongest. The six core product strategies for the institutional market that he has outlined are: HalbisÆs emerging market debt, pan-Asian equities, pan-Asian bonds, Asian fixed income and local currencies, SinopiaÆs inflation-linked bonds and the alternative business groupÆs fund of hedge funds.
ôWhat we are really doing is concentrating on the core products we have in the institutional space,ö Apenbrink says. With $90 billion under management in the asset class globally, ôI think we are the emerging market asset manager. And we just have to promote ourselves better.ö
Apenbrink is working on ramping up client service standards and the groupÆs institutional sales capability.
ôIn the institutional business, I think itÆs important to give more advice, not just to show [investors] great products,ö he says. ôIn my German experience, there was a very strong asset-liability management capability. And I really think we should bring that to Asia-Pacific.ö
He is planning on introducing an asset-liability management unit to Asia, which was a success in Dnsseldorf from his previous role as CEO of Germany. It will advise institutional clients, such as sovereigns, insurers, pensions and endowments, on strategic and tactical asset allocation.
ôI really think they would add value to institutional clients,ö he says. ôWe donÆt want to become competitors with consultants. We will be answering our clientsÆ questions where they might want a second opinion. I think as asset managers, we are positioned to give that kind of advice.ö
Apenbrink is also looking to strengthen the institutional sales team.
ôIn the past, we had a head of institutional business, and this person was at the same time a head of sales. What I would really like to hire is a very strong, high-profile head of institutional sales to give it the focus it deserves,ö he says.
Since he departed Dnsseldorf to take up the Asia-Pacific CEO position in 2007, Apenbrink has taken a string of clues from his previous roles as head of fixed income portfolio management and CEO for Germany, where institutional management was his forte, to implement his vision of doubling the assets in Asia.
ôWe are on track,ö he says, ôso IÆm more than happy with what we have achieved so far.ö
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