ING Investment Management announced the appointment of Patrick Chia from Amundi as its new head of Asian fixed income, based in Singapore.

He started at the firm last week and will head an Asian fixed income team that will be 10-strong when two imminent arrivals take up their posts, a company spokesperson tells AsianInvestor.

Chia joins from Amundi in Singapore, where he was head of fixed income and currencies, Asia. He has previously managed fixed income at DBS Asset Management, OCBC, the Monetary Authority of Singapore and Standard Chartered.

Chia had reported to Philippe Jauer, CIO of global fixed income and forex, based in Singapore. Following Chia's departure on December 31, Jauer reallocated Chia’s portfolios among other members of the team.

A spokesperson for Amundi confirmed it was looking to hire a senior portfolio manager to replace him. The firm's fixed income team in Asia comprises nine investment professionals.

In his new role Chia will lead ING IM’s Asian fixed income team and also contribute to its global emerging markets debt team, which has approximately €12 billion ($15.7 billion) in AUM, working in collaboration with colleagues in New York, Atlanta and The Hague.

His appointment comes after Joel Kim quit ING IM last September to join BlackRock, where he became its first head of Asia fixed income and tasked with coordinating its regional offering and building its platform.

AsianInvestor placed Kim at number seven in its top 10 people moves of 2011 (see the December issue of our magazine). We felt the fact that the world's largest asset management firm newly created this role underlined the growing prominence of Asian fixed income across the risk curve.

Fixed income recruitment was a hotspot last year with several high-profile hires, and this trend is expected to continue as long as the cycle persists. ING IM evidently weighed up its options and decided it needed to go into the market to find a replacement for Kim.

“The appointment of [Chia] shows the commitment that ING IM has to our fixed income strategy and to building out our fixed income team in Singapore,” stresses Grant Bailey, Asia-Pacific CEO for ING IM, in a press statement.

Kim had headed ING IM’s eight-strong Asian fixed income team and was responsible for its fixed income assets in Asia ex-Japan. He had been managing Asian fixed income portfolios since August 2002.

Bailey had told AsianInvestor at the time that he seriously regretted Kim’s decision to leave, but conceded: "That's asset management."

Rob Drijkoningen, ING IM’s co-head of emerging market debt, had stepped into Kim’s shoes in the interim and now relinquishes his additional duties.

ING IM manages around $416 billion of assets for institutions and individuals worldwide, as at December 31 last year. It is the principal asset manager of ING Group.