Pictet Asset Management has brought in Andy Wong from rival Invesco as its first multi-asset investment professional in Asia, more than a year after regional head Amy Cho said it had planned to do so.
The move reflects both the continuing trend for fund houses to expand their asset allocation capabilities in the region and the difficulty of finding suitable individuals. Headhunters told AsianInvestor last month that multi-asset experts in Hong Kong and Singapore were being offered pay rises of 20-40% to switch jobs.
Wong started on April 24 as senior investment manager in Hong Kong, co-managing Pictet Strategic Income, the firm’s Hong Kong-domiciled, Asia-biased multi-asset fund.
He will run the fund alongside Percival Stanion, London-based head of the international multi-asset team, and senior investment managers Andrew Cole and Shaniel Ramjee. Wong reports to Stanion and Cho.
Asked whether Pictet AM had won multi-asset mandates from Asian institutions, a spokeswoman appeared to suggest it had not. She would only say that the international multi-asset team supported the management of the firm's funds, as well as mandates for various institutional clients in Europe.
Building out of multi-asset teams is one of the main hiring trends among fund houses in Asia, said Jeremy Harris, Hong Kong-based partner at recruitment firm Wellesley Partners last month.
Particularly sought after are individuals with 'solutions' experience – those who can discuss customised mandates with clients rather than simply push existing products.
Industry observers said recent examples of fund houses seeking multi-asset talent in Asia included Aberdeen, Alliance Bernstein, Franklin Templeton, Invesco and Neuberger Berman.
Pictet AM’s international multi-asset team is 18-strong and includes portfolio managers, strategists and analysts across London, Milan, Tokyo and now Hong Kong. The firm had $160 billion in assets under management as of December 31.
At Invesco, Wong was a senior fund manager overseeing multi-asset income mandates for Asian investors. He joined the US firm in 2013 from Goldman Sachs Asset Management, where he started his career as an analyst in 2001. During his tenure he held investment roles in Hong Kong, New York and Tokyo.
Invesco declined to comment on Wong's departure.