ING Investment Management Asia-Pacific has named Bas van Buuren as regional head of institutional sales and business development. He replaces Carlo Venes, who left the fund house last year to join his former boss Chris Ryan at Fidelity International.

In his new role, van Buuren is responsible for leading the institutional sales and business development initiatives across Asia-Pacific, managing regional consultants' relationships and the client servicing team. He reports to Grant Bailey, regional general manager of ING Investment Management.

Van Buuren will relocate to Hong Kong from Singapore in the second quarter of 2009. Currently, he is also the CEO of ING Investment Management Singapore, where he is also responsible for institutional business development. He joins the regional team with 13 years of business development experience in the asset management industry, with a focus in South Asia. He joined ING Investment Management in Europe in 1995, moving to Asia in 2000.

Van Buuren's new expanded role is part of a greater push to build ING Investment Management's institutional business in Asia-Pacific. His experience in building the institutional business in Singapore is expected to help open new opportunities and drive growth for the fund house's institutional franchise in the rest of the region.

ING Investment Management believes that more institutional mandates will be forthcoming in Asia as many institutions are only beginning to explore opportunities overseas.

"There are still great opportunities in Asia for local mandates through ING Investment Management's local extensive footprint and regional mandates for institutions starting to invest overseas," says a company spokesman. "If you look at the performance of institutional portfolios around the region, all those invested overseas have seen better performance than those only invested locally. With markets under pressure and institutions looking to generate better returns we believe that we will therefore see increased interest from those institutions."

 ING Investment Management has both retail and institutional businesses in Asia-Pacific.  This is possible due to the structure where a regional office in Hong Kong coordinates with local business units in 12 markets -- one of the largest regional footprints of any investment management business.

Among ING Investment Management's latest institutional mandates is one from the Government Service Insurance System, which awarded the fund house part of a $1 billion mandate to invest overseas, marking the Philippine state pension fund's first foray in the overseas market.