Prudential hires Malaysia CIO

The appointment is the latest change in a shake-up of the British insurer's Asia investment team.
Prudential hires Malaysia CIO

Prudential, a UK insurance group, has named a new chief investment officer for its Malaysia business, continuing its reshuffle of personnel in Asia, AsianInvestor has learned.  

Esther Ong Chen Woon will start in the role next week, according to an unnamed executive at Prudential. She was previously Malaysia CIO at rival insurer Allianz.

Prudential previously had a head of investments for Malaysia, Patricia Tan, who is believed to have since moved on.

The insurer did not respond to a request for comment sent to its team in Singapore, where it was a public holiday yesterday. Likewise, Allianz could not provide a response by press time as its regional communications function is also based in Singapore.

Ong's hire is part of Prudential’s plan to locate CIOs in its major markets of Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, said sources familiar with the insurer. The aim, they told AsianInvestor, is to provide these professionals with more autonomy than the former local investment heads, with a view to improving returns.

Ong's appointment follows the arrival of Ben Rudd in February as Hong Kong CIO and Lena Teoh in January as Singapore CIO. Rudd had been CIO at Hong Kong-based family office Caravel Asset Management, while Teoh was Asia-Pacific CIO at Credit Suisse until early 2016. AsianInvestor could not ascertain what she had done between then and joining Prudential. 

Stephan van Vliet, formerly of PineBridge Investments, also joined the firm in Singapore as Asia CIO in May. It is understood that the local CIOs in Prudential's main Asian markets will report to their local CEOs rather than to van Vliet.

Meanwhile, Prudential also in May appointed a new Asia chief executive, Nic Nicandrou, who was previously Asia chief financial officer. Former CEO Tony Wilkey left after 10 years with the firm.

Prudential has operations in 12 markets across Asia: Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. The firm does not break out its assets under management for the region, but sources estimate that they amount to at least $100 billion. 

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