Principal Global Investors (PGI) has named Kirk West as Singapore-based executive director of international distribution, alongside George Jamgochian, the new executive director of US distribution in New York. The Iowa-based asset manager is looking to take a more global approach to distribution.

The two appointments follow the departure of Hazel McNeilage, PGI's former global head of sales and marketing, who has joined Queensland Investment Corporation in Australia as head of funds management. She was appointed to the role in November and took it up in January.

Jamgochian was previously managing director for US institutional sales and joined the firm in 2008.

West was most recently Singapore-based managing director of PGI for Asia ex-Japan, and the firm will appoint a replacement in due course. "The search commenced late last year, and we hope to be in a position to make an announcement in the near future," West tells AsianInvestor. "Internal and external candidates have been considered for the role."

PGI may also hire a senior fund salesperson to assist in the distribution of its Dublin-domiciled funds, he adds.

In his new role, West will retain responsibility for sales, marketing, relationship management and client service in Asia, but his remit will expand to include Japan, Australia, Europe, the Middle East and Latin America.

"[The new role] requires me to take on more of a coaching role than player role," says West. "Decisions are now based on the solution that best leverages the global footprint, rather than what necessarily works best for a single region."

Previously, PGI ran each region relatively independently from a day-to-day distribution perspective, he adds. "My approach will be to look at distribution more holistically and ignore geographical boundaries," says West. "This will allow a greater sharing of ideas and materials between the teams to maximise our chances of success on a global basis."

As for the months ahead, PGI is considering launching an unconstrained equity strategy, in response to interest among clients.

Moreover, the firm started building its profile in the Middle East about 15 months ago. It is very pleased with its progress there to date, says West, and is likely to further increase its business development activities.

"We have an aggressive AUM target for 2010," he adds, "but the pipeline [of business] looks healthy, and I am therefore quietly confident of 2010 being a good year for the Asian team."

Prior to being Asia head, West held roles including chief executive for PGI's Australian and European businesses.

PGI manages $215 billion in assets primarily for retirement plans and other institutional clients and is part of the Principal Financial Group.