Prudential Asset Management in Hong Kong has hired Kevin Gibson as its head of Japanese equities. Gibson, who has left HSBC Asset Management in Tokyo where he had served as its Japan CIO, has relocated to Hong Kong to take up the role. He will report to Hong Kong-based regional CIO Dave Perrett.

UK-based Prudential acknowledges it is unconventional to run Japan-invested money from Hong Kong, particularly because it already has one fund manager based in Tokyo, Kenichi Ura.

"We're tapping into our expertise in Hong Kong because so much of Japanese companies' growth is from outside Japan," says Robert Rountree, head of investment services at Pru in Hong Kong.

As part of this move, Prudential has reassigned two other fund managers to support Gibson's Japan mandate. Vaughn Chang, the firm's investment director in Hong Kong and a veteran tech investor, will take on the additional role of supporting Gibson's Japan work by covering the Asia ex-Japan tech opportunities being exploited by Japanese companies.

And Johan du Preez, a senior fund manager in Prudential's South African business, is transferring to Hong Kong to work fulltime on Japan portfolios.

Prudential has appointed a fourth fund manager to run Japan portfolios in Hong Kong but can't reveal who yet.

Whereas the Tokyo-based Ura previously reported directly to regional boss Perrett, he will now report to Gibson, as will Chang and du Preez. "This is not a new layer of management," says Rountree, "but a blending of our Japanese investment strategy with our Asian strategy."

The firm manages $3.5 billion in Japanese mandates, primarily sourced from global institutional investors and Japanese retail mutual funds.