Pioneer Investments has announced the appointment of a trio of sales staff as it moves to step up its penetration of Asian institutional investors.

Separately, the firm looks likely to seek several Asian debt specialists based out of London, where it houses its emerging markets investment talent, and will eventually look to increase the amount of product registered for retail sale in Asia (currently only in Taiwan).

Matthew Marks came on board on October 1 as institutional sales director for Asia ex-Japan and Korea, based in Singapore. This is a newly created role to focus on central banks, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.

Previously Marks was a director of institutional business at Prudential Asset Management (since rebranded as Eastspring Investments) based in Singapore, but exited in the middle of last year to relocate to Australasia with his family.

Dean Winterton, global head of institutional business at Eastspring in Singapore who joined a few weeks after Marks left, says that old role does not exist at the firm anymore amid a restructure, although the team has expanded from 11 to 21 with the opening of a US office. Its hires include Jeremy Hall, Piers Wheeler and Mark Yuen to build institutional business in the region.

Further, Pioneer Investments has hired Martin Park as sales director for Korea, also based in Singapore. He joins from HSBC Global Asset Management, where he was associate director of Korean institutional business.

At Pioneer he will focus on sourcing mandates from Korean institutions and seeking sub-advisory opportunities with financial intermediaries.

A spokesman for HSBC confirms that Park officially left the bank in mid-September, and that it has Choi Sae Joon covering the market – although it does not have an office in the country.

Hiromi Wada has also joined Pioneer as its Japan representative from Itau Japan Asset Management, where he has worked in its institutional and retail business over the past three years. Before that he was head of the financial institutions group at Pimco Japan.

These latest hires follow a number of appointments by Pioneer Investments in the region, including Neal Jenkins as head of sales for the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, as reported.

In terms of business development and sales in the region, the firm now has two in Japan, including Wada, three in Singapore, namely Marks, Park and Norman Wu covering wholesale relationships, eight in Taiwan, Stephen Teoh in Australia and Jenkins for the Middle East. Pioneer also has a representative in Beijing, who services China-based clients.

At present the firm has around $189 billion in AUM globally, of which $5.7 billion (3%) is sourced from Asia.

Asked about AUM growth targets, Jack Lin, the firm’s head for Asia and the Middle East, is non-specific, saying only that it intends to “increase the number substantially”.

He stresses the primary focus for now is building its distribution and servicing infrastructure in the region, marketing its existing capabilities in fixed income and equities.

Lin points to strengths in emerging market debt based out of London, one of its three global investment centres along with Boston and Dublin. Other fixed income strategies cover high yield, income and credit, including European debt. Garrett Walsh runs a team of credit research analysts on Europe and EM, while Angelo Corbetta is its head of Asian equity.

It covers Asian fixed income through its EM debt team, although Lin confirms it has its sights set on offering Asian debt strategies in future and that it is seeking several Asian debt specialists to be based in London.

He adds that of Pioneer Investments’ funds capabilities, only in Taiwan are they registered for mass retail sale, while it markets to accredited investors in the rest of the region.

Asked if the intention was to change this and have more product registered for retail sale in Asia, Lin replies: “Yes, over time the goal will be to have some presence across Asian landscapes. But given our strengths right now it is better to focus on the institutional market.”