US asset manager Neuberger Berman has named Jason Henchman in the newly created post of Asia-Pacific chief operating officer (COO) in Hong Kong.

AsianInvestor had previously reported that the COO post had been filled, but not the name of the new hire. In the same story, we revealed that Chris Gunns had been named as regional head of consultant relations, with the aim of raising Neuberger's profile among investment consultants.

Henchman is now responsible for administrative and control functions in the region, as well as general support for the firm's businesses in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore.

He was previously Asia-Pacific ex-Japan head of legal and compliance at Legg Mason Investments. In that role, he was also responsible for the firm's governance structure in the region, including chairing its Asia risk and operating committee.

Before joining Neuberger, Gunns was the Asia-Pacific regional manager for institutional sales and business development at ING Investment Management.

Both Gunns and Henchman report to Asia chief executive Tony Edwards, who joined late last year. Edwards highlights the significance of Neuberger's independent status, following a management buyout in May 2009; the firm was previously part of Lehman Brothers. The deal created a clarity of purpose, he adds, meaning the firm doesn't have the agenda of some other asset management companies.

Neuberger Berman had $173 billion in assets under management as of December 31.