Here we present the stories from our daily newsletter that were most popular among readers in December in descending order, with number one the recipient of the most hits. Excluded from the list are our weekly roundups of people news.

1. BlackRock hires SE Asia chief; Kevin Hardy to exit (by Joe Marsh and Ernest Chan, December 19)

The US asset manager has appointed a former Barclays executive as part of a shuffle of regional responsibilities.

2. Julie Koo resigns from UBS AM, weighing her options (by Richard Newell, December 14)

The Swiss asset manager's head of institutional client coverage for Northern Asia has resigned and will leave in February, but has not yet decided on her next career move. 

3. Japan Post Bank plans tenfold growth in alts, hedge funds (by Indira Vergis, December 11)

Japan Post Bank, a relative newcomer to alternatives investing, aims to up its current $7 billion allocation by almost 10 times its current level to help deliver higher returns.

4. New cryptocurrency funds offer entry to unproven assets (by Indira Vergis, December 4)

Helvetic Investments and Swiss Asia are launching cryptocurrency funds, at a time when bitcoin mania is reaching frenzied levels.

5. StanChart pares, shuffles research heads (by Joe Marsh, December 12)

The British bank has laid off its head of global research and chief economist amid pressure on investors' research budgets. It has also replaced its global head of structuring.

6. Standard Chartered lays off Asia insurance head (by Joe Marsh, December 19)

An investment industry veteran left the British bank last month amid several other recent senior departures. He will not be replaced. 

7. China’s pension challenge getting bigger (and bigger) (by Jolie Ho, December 12)

The pension schemes of 13 Chinese local governments are reportedly now in deficit, or close to deficit, and the number will only grow if nothing is done. 

8. Private debt boom seen good for another decade (by Richard Newell, December 6)

With institutional investor demand in Asia steadily rising, allocations to private debt could double or even triple in the next 10 years, market observers say.

9. Manulife facing two-speed China entry (by Jolie Ho, December 18)

The Canadian insurer has inked a tie-up between its mainland funds joint venture and Agricultural Bank of China, but is still seeking a partner with which to set up a pensions firm. 

10. New HK listing plans draw investor criticism (by Jolie Ho, December 17)

Hong Kong's exchange proposes allowing pre-revenue innovative companies with dual-class structures to list in the city, raising concerns about investor protection.