Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) has hired a trio of Asian equity specialists from BlackRock in newly created roles as it moves to bring two externally managed funds in-house, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Joshua Crabb is set to join as head of Asian equities on October 1. Also arriving are analysts Kris Whitlock and Dmitry Lapidus, who will take up their new positions on September 22.

The trio join from BlackRock’s fundamental equity team and will be based in London ahead of regulatory approval to set up in Hong Kong, which is planned for early next year.

Crabb had worked at BlackRock since 2007, where he was most recently portfolio manager of the BGF Asia Pacific Equity Income fund.

Andrew Swan, BlackRock's head of Asian equities, and Oisin Crawley, its head of research within the Asian equities team, have taken over management of the fund, a company spokeswoman said.

At OMGI, Crabb will report to CEO Julian Ide, and will be tasked with leading the development of the firm's Asian equities product range. Whitlock and Lapidus will report to Crabb.

The new team will take over management of two externally managed funds from October 15: the $270 million Old Mutual Pacific Equity Fund and the $40 million Old Mutual Asian Equity Fund. These are sub-funds of Dublin-domiciled umbrella products.

The Pacific fund has been managed by First State Investment Management in the UK and the Asian product by Sydney-based Metisq Capital. Metisq was formerly MIR Investment Management before the firm rebranded in 2012.

“Where we can identify managers that fit our criteria, we will bring them onboard and bring funds in-house – where outsourcing works well we will stay put,” said Carol Wong, Asia head of distribution.

“We will bring more products to Asia for registration and at the same time manufacture in Hong Kong to sell globally,” she added.

In April, OMGI announced it had added two sales staff as the UK firm moves towards registering its first retail products in the region.

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

Tsui reports to Kylie Chan, who joined as Asia head of sales in December from BNP Paribas Investment Partners.

Tsui and Chan are focusing on building up OMGI’s distribution network, initially via private banks.

Chan reports to Wong, who also joined from BNPP IP in Hong Kong, in November, following Jane Fung's move to Principal Global Investors.

Wong is 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.

Prior to joining BlackRock, Crabb worked from 2001 to 2007 at Prudential Asset Management as a manager, according to his LinkedIn profile.

At BlackRock, Whitlock covered India, and he and Lapidus covered Asean.

Lapidus joined BlackRock in 2012. Before that he worked from June 2011 to September 2011 at RBS Markets and International Banking in London.