Paul Klug, former co-chief operating officer for Asia and the Mena region at Deutsche Asset Management, has resurfaced as ING Investment Management's general manager for Asia. He replaces Eddy Belmans who has moved to Japan to become chief executive of ING Life.
At ING, Klug will report to Alan Harden, Asia-Pacific CEO of ING IM, and share oversight responsibilities with co-regional manager Grant Bailey, who replaced former South Asia regional manager Michael Ferrer.
With Klug's arrival, Harden has reshuffled the business functions of his two deputies. Whereas the Belmans-Ferrer combination saw the responsibilities divided into North and South Asia, Klug and Bailey will cover the wholesale and institutional businesses, respectively.
Klug will support the wholesale sales team run by Edmund Lacis, while Bailey will help run the institutional sales team led by Bas van Buuren.
As ING Group continues to unwind its various businesses in the region, and the AUM flow sourced from group businesses is expected to continue to weaken, some in the market wonder whether Klug will wield an axe similar to the one he brandished previously.
At Deutsche AM, Klug helped cut the group's regional resources to the bone -- an equity research team was shut down during the crisis, while the firm's fixed-income investment and back-office teams were significantly scaled down in Singapore. Klug then briefly decamped to Mauritius in April to head up Deutsche's private wealth and trust businesses, following the exit of his former boss Ed Peter. (Mark Cullen, Deutsche Bank COO, flew in from New York as an interim replacement, then saw the whole Asian platform sold off to Beijing-based Harvest Fund Management.)
Before joining Deutsche, Klug was managing director for global wealth management at Morgan Stanley, including a stint as COO of investment management in Tokyo. He has also worked for Goldman Sachs, Chase Manhattan and JP Morgan.
Behind the scenes, the restructuring work to split out the investment management and real estate investment businesses from the group balance sheet continues. The group has no official comment on its progress. However, sales, compliance, operations and various back-office functions overlapping between the two businesses are expected to be trimmed.
Meanwhile, further to the earlier shedding of ING's Taiwan life and Asian IFA fund-distribution platform, the group recently offloaded its Australia insurance and wealth management businesses to ANZ, with the sale of its private banking business still pending.
So, after prior years of rapid expansion and acquisitions in the region, the great unwinding has befallen the group. AUM flows sourced from ING businesses, which insiders say have never been very efficient even at their peak, are expected to further dwindle, as preferential agreements for inner-group businesses give way to water-downed forms of "partnership" agreements with the new business owners.
The responsibility now rests on Harden and his new team to ride this wave of change and alight on a successful business model.