Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) has added two sales staff recently and more are in the pipeline – as is its first investment executive for Asia – as the UK firm moves towards registering its first retail products in the region.

Iris Tsui joined this month as senior sales manager from China’s E Fund Management, where she was responsible for business development through intermediaries and institutional clients. Prior to that, she worked for HSBC and Citibank.

Tsui reports to Kylie Chan, who joined as Asia head of sales in December from BNP Paribas Investment Partners. Chan had been head of distribution for Hong Kong and China at the French firm, where she spent six years. She has also worked for Citi in Hong Kong and Kingsway Fund Management.

Tsui and Chan will focus on building up its distribution network, initially via private banks.

Chan in turn reports to Carol Wong, Asia head of distribution, who also joined from BNPP IP in Hong Kong, in November, following Jane Fung's move to Principal Global Investors. Chan will not be directly replaced under BNPP IP's recently restructured Asia sales team.

OMGI's Hong Kong team is now six-strong and will soon expand further. The firm is hiring a local product development executive and seconding another this month from head office in London.

Since Wong joined in November, the Hong Kong operation has set up distribution relationships with several global private banks, including Barclays, Citi, Coutts, Deutsche Bank and UBS.

As a next step, OMGI will register funds with local regulators for retail sale in both Hong Kong and Singapore, but Wong did not specify a time frame. Ultimately, it will broaden distribution to retail banks, insurance companies and family offices.

Wong is also looking for the firm’s first investment manager for the region to be based in either Hong Kong or Singapore to develop local manufacturing capability, she says.

At present OMGI relies on the 47-strong investment team in the UK or outsources manufacturing to external fund managers via sub-advisory relationships.

Wong was tasked with revamping the Asia set-up, after the 2012 creation of the £16 billion ($26.77 billion) OMGI from the merger of Skandia Investment Group’s multi-manager business with Old Mutual Wealth’s asset manager business.

OMGI sells Dublin-domiciled products to private banking clients. Over the past two months, a Ucits market-neutral hedge fund product has attracted orders of some $10 million from investors in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taiwan, says Wong.

The firm will bring more Dublin-domiciled products to Asia and its product development executives will fine-tune them and add features to suit the local markets, she notes.