Ken Yap has taken over the helm at financial services research firm Cerulli Associates in Asia. Shiv Taneja, who set up the firmÆs Asian headquarters in Singapore in 2004, has moved to London to expand his international research focus.

Cerulli is a Boston-based research firm specialising exclusively in the financial services industry. It is very much focused on the asset management industry and its coverage centres around three main areas: market sizing, product development and distribution strategies. Its clients include fund companies, insurance firms, banks and brokerages.

Yap û who is head of Asia-Pacific research at Cerulli and based in Singapore û has taken over the responsibility of the day-to-day management of the firmÆs research operations is this region. He continues to be responsible for CerulliÆs international quantitative research efforts, a role he has performed since 2004. Yap joined Cerulli in London in 2001, moved to Boston in 2003, and then relocated to Singapore in 2005. Before Cerulli, he was a consultant at a UK technology consulting firm.

Taneja is head of international research at Cerulli, a role he has held since the beginning of 2007. He joined the firm in 2000 in London as an international research consultant focusing on European and Asian research. He moved to Singapore in 2004 to set up the Asian research operation. Before Cerulli, he was with Standard & Poor's in London.

Going forward, TanejaÆs work will have a much greater emphasis on global research and a broader focus on business development given the proximity to clients in Europe and the US.

ôThe firm has plans to aggressively increase research coverage on a global basis, with specific emphasis on emerging markets in Asia, Europe and Latin America,ö Taneja says. ôThe firm already has extensive coverage of developed markets, but selectively we shall add to this list, largely driven by demands of our clients.ö

CerulliÆs Asia coverage dates back to 2000, when it was centrally administered from London. By 2004, Cerulli covered seven Asian markets out of Singapore, including Japan, as well as Australia in the Pacific. Now, the firm covers 14 markets in region. It also added the Middle East coverage to the Singapore office in late-2007.

ôThere are plans to deepen our institutional coverage starting early in 2009, as well as significantly add to our already strong retail coverage,ö says Yap.

There are eight analysts based in the Singapore office at the moment, specialising in specific markets. There are also staff handling global quantitative analysis from the Singapore office, bringing the total headcount to around 30.

Taneja expects to remain very involved in tracking the developments of the asset management industry in Asia.

ôAsia's been an integral part of my work for the past 15 years, and that won't change despite my global research brief,ö Taneja says. ôI expect to travel to the region at least twice a year to meet with clients, but more importantly to stay engaged with the research.ö

Taneja says CerulliÆs business in Asia has very closely mirrored the growth of the regional asset management industry.

Over the years, Cerulli has witnessed the significant deepening of assets under management in Asia ex-Japan (which has crossed the $1 trillion mark), the growth of markets across the region, and the expansion of international and local industry players.

While banks remain the dominant force in Asia in terms of distribution of fund products (one of TanejaÆs pet peeves), he notes that there are real distribution alternatives emerging in some markets. ôThis is still very much work in progress, and I look forward to seeing it grow substantially in the future,ö he says.

The core market for Cerulli continues to be the US, which is where more than half of its business is generated. It now covers Latin America with a joint venture, it conducts research in Western Europe and is increasingly looking at Eastern European markets. In the last couple of years, Cerulli has been building its business in Asia û not just the core markets that continue to get a lot of attention but also Southeast Asia, the Middle East and Japan. South Africa is another market that the firm is planning to add to its research roster later this year.