The $118.5 billion Principal Global Investors has established an Asian equities trading desk in Singapore as part of a regional build-up and hired Corinne Lim from OCBC Asset Management to run it.

The firm launched a dedicated Asian equity product in late 2002 and has been localizing investment operations since, turning the Singapore office from just a sales and marketing beachhead into a fleshed out unit. The firm manages over $450 million in Asian and emerging markets equities.

Last year it placed its first portfolio manager there, transferring Michael Marusiak from its headquarters in Des Moines, Iowa, to help run its global emerging market funds. Similarly, until now Asian equities trading had been done out of Des Moines, says Hazel McNeilage, managing director for Asia.

Lim was senior equities dealer at OCBC-AM, but also has macroeconomic research and both buy and sell side equities trading experience.