Julie Koo, head of institutional client coverage for Northern Asia ex Japan at UBS Global Asset Management, has resigned and is taking a “short break” before considering taking up a new role in 2018.

AsianInvestor understands UBS internally announced Koo's departure on Thursday (December 14). Koo has been with the asset management arm of the Swiss financial giant since April 2015. She was hired to lead the institutional client relationships in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Korea and Taiwan, reporting to group managing director and head of UBS Asset Management, Rene Buehlmann.

Koo was also responsible for coordinating coverage for the firm’s domestic institutional businesses in Australia, Japan, Korea and China.

Koo told AsianInvestor that having overseen the establishment of a firm foothold for UBS in China, she felt it was time to move on to a new challenge. She didn’t rule out returning to institutional sales at another asset management company, but confirmed she has no role lined up. She is contracted to UBS until the end of February.

A UBS spokeswoman did not respond to AsianInvestor's requests for comment immediately before presstime. 

During her time at UBS, Koo oversaw the establishment of a second WFOE licence for UBS, operative in Shanghai, to follow the licence granted in Shenzhen in 2011. UBS has prioritised China as its main growth driver globally and the country represents its third biggest market by client assets under management, after Switzerland and the US.

The firm obtained a private fund management (PFM) licence in July and has readied its first products, offering offshore equities and fixed income exposure. UBS now has a 20-strong team in Shanghai said Koo.

Koo joined UBS in April 2015 from HSBC where she was head of institutional sales for the bank’s wealth management business from 2010. Shortly before her appointment, Buehlmann reiterated to AsianInvestor the desire of UBS Global AM to build its regional assets undre management (AUM) to $150 billion by 2018.

By AsianInvestor's reckoning, the company achieved that early; our 2017 AI100 list of the leading asset managers by AUM in the region ranked UBS Global AM's Asia Pacific AUM at $156.2 billion at the end of 2016. Koo's efforts likely led to that early achievement, in addition to favourable market conditions. 

Before working at HSBC, Koo spent over 15 years with Fidelity, firstly in the US with affiliate company Pyramis, then in the UK for six years and latterly in Hong Kong from 2006 to 2010.