Pictet Asset Management is bringing in two executives from rival TCW, with one taking up the role of Asia head vacated by Amy Cho last year and the other joining the institutional team, AsianInvestor has learned. 

Junjie Watkins will replace Cho, who had run regional business development, while Heather Bao will join the institutional team, according to a source familiar with the Swiss fund house. AsianInvestor could not ascertain their precise titles or future starting dates.

Watkins is currently managing director leading Asia investment solutions at TCW and Bao is a senior vice president on the same team. Both will remain in Hong Kong, Pictet's Asia headquarters, for their new positions.

Carmen Lai

Carmen Lai, formerly a senior vice president at Pictet AM, had overseen institutional client coverage after Cho's departure, but she left earlier this month after some 10 years with the firm. AsianInvestor could not ascertain what her next destination might be.

Teck Ng, a vice president, is currently responsible for institutional coverage, according to Pictet's website.

It is understood that Bao and Watkins will leave TCW in summer 2019 and that the US firm will start a search for their replacements. A Pictet AM spokeswoman declined to confirm or comment for this story.

“TCW’s Hong Kong office remains well positioned to continue its impressive growth trajectory, and we thank Junjie and Heather for their contributions,” a TCW spokesman said.

Amy Cho

After 12 years at Pictet, Cho joined UK fund house Schroders in December as Hong Kong chief executive and Asia head of intermediary business. 

Before joining TCW in October 2015, Bao and Watkins both worked at US asset manager Neuberger Berman, most recently on the investment solutions team for Greater China, which Watkins led. At Neuberger, both serviced institutional and high-net-worth clients.

The duo also have investment banking experience – Bao at Merrill Lynch and Watkins at Lehman Brothers and Deutsche Bank.