OMGI hires old Asia hand for regional expansion

Old Mutual Global Investors has recruited Simon MacKinnon to help drive the asset manager's Asia-Pacific expansion. Shanghai-based Mackinnon previously worked at PE firms SMC Capital China and Cinven.
OMGI hires old Asia hand for regional expansion

Old Mutual Global Investors has appointed a new strategic adviser to help steer the firm’s expansion in Asia Pacific.

The hiring of the 30-year veteran of Asia business comes as OMGI looks to step up its regional growth after months of hiring.

Shanghai-based Simon MacKinnon joined the asset manager last month as a consultant, with part of his role being to identify the firm's required regional operating model.

MacKinnon told AsianInvestor that the firm was looking at five areas for expansion and development – product, distribution, organisational structure, its Asian footprint, and leveraging the capabilities of the parent Old Mutual group. These areas were where OMGI would focus its resources, MacKinnon said.

“There are ambitious growth plans for OMGI as a whole,” MacKinnon said, “and it’s clear that Asia is going to be a big part of that. So we are going to need to look at product and obviously grow our capability in Asia – for example there have been recent moves to build the Asia equity team.”

MacKinnon’s appointment follows the creation last October of an Asian equities team headed by Josh Crabb and the recruitment the following month of specialist China equities portfolio manager Diamond Lee, as reported.

In addition, OMGI recently completed hiring for the Hong Kong-based Asian distribution team.

While part of MacKinnon’s role will be to identify future key appointments, he said there were no details at this stage in terms of hiring plans.

When asked whether OMGI would consider acquisitions or focus on organic growth, MacKinnon said: “I think it’s wide open – OMGI is very well placed to do both. We have a large and very well-established parent in Old Mutual, and we also have some excellent leadership. We have people who are very capable of growing the organisation at speed.”

He added that he expected OMGI to be “substantially larger in Asia on a three-year view”.

MacKinnon said that in order to grow the business, OMGI needed to make available to its Asian clients the Ucits funds which had been ‘very successful’ in Europe.

Currently OMGI has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore and Taipei, which MacKinnon said was ‘not a bad footprint to start with’, which the firm would start off with and ‘go from there’. He said OMGI would look at other opportunities such as Korea and Japan, or consider the possibility of making Singapore a base for operations of some of the smaller markets.

Part of the reason for MacKinnon’s hire has been his long career history in Asia, where he has lived for 30 years.

“I’m long-time Asia based,” MacKinnon said. “I don’t think you can really bring the focus and the drive that is necessary in Asia without being based here. I have a strong sense of what is going on by meeting and talking to people in the industry. And in China I have a strong track record of building and establishing businesses.”

From 2008 to 2014 MacKinnon was a venture partner at SMC Capital China, the private equity and alternative asset investment firm established by former Hutchison Whampoa CEO Simon Murray in 1997.

He was also China adviser to PE firm Cinven from 2008-2011. From 1985-2000 MacKinnon held senior positions at P&O Group including chief representative, P&O Shanghai, from 1995-2000.

Among other roles, MacKinnon is currently chairman of Sinophi Healthcare and healthcare technology firm Your.MD China.

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