Janus Capital Asia has named Margaret Ang and Benjamin Chang as co-heads of its Asia Pacific ex-Japan operations.

Ang focuses mainly on building Janus's institutional business in the region, a role thatÆs a natural fit for someone who was a senior director for institutional business at UOB Asset Management. Ang replaces Ilex Lam, who held the position of regional director for Asia Pacific ex-Japan from December 2004. Lam, in turn, has taken on the role of chief executive officer at the newly formed BEA Union Investment Management, an asset management joint venture between Bank of East Asia in Hong Kong and GermanyÆs Union Asset Management Holding.

Chang, who has been with Janus for around three years, focuses on developing the companyÆs financial intermediary and private banking relationships. Both report into Erich Gerth, chief executive of Janus Capital International.

Previously, there was already a distinction between the top institutional business and financial intermediaries roles in Janus, but the recent appointments of Ang and Chang make the distinction sharper.

ôWe want to dedicate and focus our efforts on having robust and relevant investment strategies and building our assets in the region,ö says Ang.

Among Janus' key markets in Asia are Hong Kong, Taiwan, China, and South Korea, says Ang, adding there are also opportunities from pension funds and institutions in Southeast Asia.

Earlier this month, Janus Capital won a $150 million investment mandate for US equities from TaiwanÆs Bureau of Labour Insurance, which awarded $865 million worth of mandates to six fund houses. In November 2006, Intech Enhanced Investment Technologies, a unit of Janus Capital, won part of a $1 billion investment mandate awarded by ChinaÆs National Council of Social Security Fund.

Janus' business in this region is split nearly evenly between institutional and retail investors. It recently opened an office in Singapore, it's second in Asia after Hong Kong.

Janus Capital, which has around $191 billion under management worldwide, offers US and global specialist investment products that tend to complement the portfolio holdings of non-US investors. It has two distinct investment processes û a research-driven fundamental, bottom-up stock selection approach and the risk-managed mathematical approach of Intech, an independently managed subsidiary of Janus Capital.

The Intech approach applies a pure mathematical investment strategy with all stock decisions resulting from a mathematical algorithm. The process is driven by the mathematical theory that combining stocks with high volatility relative to the index but low correlation, with the goal of creating a portfolio that seeks to outperform a benchmark index without increasing levels of risk.