Nuveen, a US funds giant with some $900 billion under management, is stepping up its commitment to Asia, a year after putting its first sales team in the region, in Hong Kong, AsianInvestor can reveal.

The Chicago-based firm – rebranded in January from TIAA Global Asset Management – won a Hong Kong licence for advising and dealing in securities on June 21, has added a South Korea head and is eyeing dedicated resources for Japan.

What’s more, Nuveen’s new licence will allow it to more easily target the wholesale business in Hong Kong, leading industry observers to suggest that the firm is likely to look to tap distribution channels such as banks over time. After all, it had already been able to market to institutional investors before it received this approval.

Asked how it would specifically benefit from the licence, Simon England-Brammer, head of Asia Pacific, said it “allows for the business to centralise itself as the hub for Asia from both an investing and distribution perspective”. He declined to comment on whether the firm was likely to target wholesale distribution.

Chang Jae-Ho

Meanwhile, Chang Jae-Ho will soon relocate to Hong Kong from the US to oversee sales to Korean clients. Reporting to England-Brammer, he will bring the sales team up to four. Chang was previously a senior director at TH Real Estate, part of Nuveen.

The other three members of the team joined from Invesco last year, as first reported by AsianInvestor.

Nuveen also plans to strengthen its commitment to Japan and is therefore likely to add resources to cover institutional investors there, said England-Brammer.

The firm also has an office in Sydney, which it opened in 2015 and which is led by Andrew Kleinig, who reports to England-Brammer.