Oddo Asset Management, a Paris-based boutique asset manager, has opened an office in Singapore, its first outside of Europe. The firm has hired Roy Diao to serve as that office’s CEO, and he is in the process of hiring both investment and sales professionals.

Diao began in October, having previously served as managing director at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, via his original role as Singapore managing director at fixed-income boutique Fischer, Francis, Trees & Watt, which BNP acquired.

Oddo’s main area of expertise is European equities and convertible bonds, but part of Diao’s remit is to add investment professionals in emerging market debt, with an emphasis on Asian fixed income.

He says the Singapore office represents an effort by Oddo not only to expand its business to Asian clients, but also to broaden its investment capability beyond Europe.

For now, Diao is a one-man band in Singapore, but he expects the office to have six or seven professionals on board over the coming year or so.

For now the investment focus in Singapore is on debt. “If the platform works, we may then look at emerging market equities,” he says.

Oddo Asset Management is part of Oddo & Cie, a small, full-service investment bank and brokerage. It has about $15 billion in AUM invested in Ucits funds and segregated accounts, plus a further $10 billion in private banking assets.

The Oddo family owns 50% of the group, which includes a custodian bank, a private bank, a metals trading arm, a corporate finance advisory and a securities brokerage. Allianz owns a further 20%, and the rest is owned by management.

About a third of the Oddo AM assets are institutional, with the rest via private banks and independent financial advisers, primarily in Europe; Diao says part of his role is to boost the institutional side of the business.

He reports to the Paris-based CEO of the asset management business, Nicolas Chaput, who joined a year ago, also from BNP Paribas Investment Partners’ fixed income business.