UK-based Martin Currie Investment Management has hired Jean-Luc Eyssautier as sales and client services director for Asia to replace Chen Ee-Fang, who left for Northern Trust in October.

Eyssautier was previously Hong Kong-based director of funds distribution for Asia at Axa Investment Managers, a role he moved from Paris to take up in mid-2009, as first reported by AsianInvestor. He will relocate to Singapore and start his new post in June.

He will report to Kimon Kouryialas, Asia-Pacific head at Martin Currie in Sydney, and will target institutional investors and private banks chiefly in Hong Kong and Singapore. The Scottish firm opened its Singapore office in October 2009.

At Axa IM, Eyssautier had looked after Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan – the markets in Asia ex-Japan where the French firm sells its products directly. He could not be contacted immediately for comment on the new appointment.

Terence Lam, Asia-Pacific head of sales and marketing at Axa IM since June, started a search for Eyssautier's replacement some time ago, and the firm will make an announcement shortly, says spokeswoman Monique Inge.

When AsianInvestor spoke to Kouryialas in October last year following Chen’s departure from Martin Currie, he said: “[Chen’s departure] doesn’t change what we’re doing or plan to do in Asia. We continue to focus on opportunities in China, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Clients had been showing particular interest in China A-shares, Taiwan and Asia ex-Japan global resources, he adds.

Martin Currie was an early mover into mainland China, having put a research presence in Shanghai in 1994, and it now has an 11-strong team there.

Moreover, last year the firm expanded its global emerging markets (GEM) investment team in Edinburgh. Two individuals – Antti Olkinuora and Darius Sliwinski – left, but six new portfolio managers joined from UK firm Scottish Widows Investment Partners, as part of Martin Currie’s separation of its GEM team from its Asian equities team.