UK asset manager Old Mutual Global Investors has appointed its first managing director of commodities, who will be based in Singapore with a global remit, as it moves to promote its new gold and silver fund.

Diego Parrilla joined the firm on August 8 from Singapore-based hedge fund Dymon Capital Asia, where he had focused on macro strategies since August 2015.

He will initially be responsible for promoting the Old Mutual Gold & Silver Fund to institutional investors in Singapore and other markets where OMGI operates.

The £60 million ($79.4 million) fund, which launched in March, is the firm’s only dedicated commodity product and invests in mining stocks and bullion funds. The firm declined to provide a fundraising target for the strategy.

Developing new strategies

Reporting to investment director Paul Simpson, Parrilla will also be looking to identify absolute-return strategies across precious metals and other commodities. “Diego’s expertise will help pinpoint what clients are after if we are to go ahead with this,” said a company spokeswoman.

There are no plans to make other hires to the commodities team at present, she noted. OMGI’s Global Equity Absolute Return strategy can also invest in commodities, she added.

Parrilla's hire continues the fund house's buildout in Asia in recent months, following the hire of its first heads for China and Southeast Asia, with a view to building its business in those markets.

The gold and silver fund, managed by Ned Naylor-Leyland, is approved under a restricted foreign scheme in Singapore. It is not authorised by the Securities and Futures Commission in Hong Kong. It is being promoted to institutions including private banks in the UK and Europe.

Gold and silver have been on bull runs this year, rising by some 25% and 30%, respectively, though the price of both metals has dropped slightly this week ahead of the Federal Reserve’s Jackson Hole symposium on Friday amid rumours of a US interest rate rise. Gold stood at around $1,325 as of close of business in London yesterday.

However, conditions are ripe for the metal to continue upwards, argued Parrilla. “We are seeing a perfect storm in the gold markets whereby central banks and global markets are testing the limits of monetary policy, credit markets, and fiat currencies, which in my view support a multi-year bull market for precious metals."

Before joining Dymon in August last year, Parrilla had been a portfolio manager at BlueCrest Capital Management. He has also served at Merrill Lynch as Asia-Pacific head of commodities and before that global head of commodity sales. He has also worked in Goldman Sachs’ commodities division and started his career as a precious metals trader in London at JP Morgan in 1998.

Parrilla is also the author of ‘The Energy World Is Flat: Opportunities From The End of Peak Oil’ published in 2015 and 'La Madre De Todas Las Batallas' in 2014.