US-based asset manager Neuberger Berman has named Nick Hoar as its new head of distribution for Asia-Pacific (ex-Japan and ex-Korea) following the departure of Tony Edwards.

Edwards officially left the firm this month “to seek another opportunity”, understood to be within an asset management firm in Asia. He had been with Neuberger Berman for two years.

Hoar’s appointment is effective immediately and he will relocate to Hong Kong, from London, by September. The company will issue a release on his move later today.

Hoar is a managing director and part of the management team that oversaw the firm’s European client franchise. In his new role he will focus on institutional and intermediary clients, reporting to Andrew Komaroff, chief operating officer and head of global distribution.

Hoar tells AsianInvestor he has a hiring mandate and is seeking distribution personnel above all. In terms of regional markets, Neuberger Berman focuses on Greater China and Southeast Asia.

“We plan to build our distribution business here [in Asia],” he says. “We have a good portfolio management team headed by Frank Yao, but I think we are a little light in terms of distribution of the broad Neuberger platform to Asia-based clients, and we need to build that team out.”

Neuberger Berman’s two main distribution hubs are Hong Kong, where it has about 27 staff, including members of the Greater China investment team, and Singapore, where it has four in operations. It also has a dozen in Japan, three in Melbourne and one in Korea. The firm’s efforts in Japan and Korea will continue to be led by Ryo Ohira, who is based in Tokyo.

Previously Hoar led the development of Neuberger Berman’s non-US intermediary distribution and will continue to work closely with Dik van Lomwel, head of Europe and the Middle East, on these efforts, the company confirmed.

Hoar has 18 years of industry experience across platforms. He joined Neuberger Berman in 2005 from Morgan Stanley where he was executive director and global head of distribution for its liquidity fund products.

Prior to that he was a coverage officer for JP Morgan Investment Management focused on Scandinavia. He began his career with Fidelity Investments where he was responsible for selling offshore mutual funds to high-net-worth individuals.

Neuberger Berman in an employee-controlled money manager with $199 billion in assets globally as of March 31 this year. It says more than 15% of these assets are managed for clients outside the US.

It does not break out its AUM by region, although by AsianInvestor calculations it had $16.2 billion in AUM sourced from Asia-Pacific as at the end of 2010. Neuberger disputes this figure, but declines to provide an alternative. It says only that it has attracted $1 billion in the past year from clients in Asia-Pacific.

The firm manages equity, fixed income and balanced separate accounts. It runs open and closed-end mutual funds and alternative investments, including hedge funds and private equity vehicles.

Neuberger was acquired by Lehman Brothers in 2003 and served as its asset management arm until the Lehman bankruptcy in September 2008. Neuberger’s management prevailed in a bankruptcy auction in December that year and it was subsequently spun out in May 2009.