British life insurer Prudential has hired a long-standing veteran of rival AIA as its new chief investment officer for Indonesia, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Novi Imelda started in the Jakarta-based role yesterday (February 1), having also served as CIO at AIA, where she had worked for some 20 years. AIA declined to comment on her departure.

Imelda replaced John Oehmke, who had been named CIO for Indonesia—then a newly created role—in February last year, but recently retired from the firm. He was formerly chief financial officer for Prudential’s Indonesia business. AsianInvestor could not ascertain when he moved on.

Imelda’s hire follows a reorganisation at Prudential Corporation Asia (PCA). The firm has appointed new CIOs in its main markets in the region, where it is thought to have at least $100 billion under management across 12 operations.

Last year Prudential named the following as local CIOs: Esther Ong in Malaysia in August, Ben Rudd in February (Hong Kong), Lena Teoh in January (Singapore). It also installed Stephan van Vliet as Asia-Pacific CIO in May.

There were previously local investment heads in Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, sources familiar with Prudential told AsianInvestor. They said the new CIOs have more autonomy and control over allocations and manager selection than the former heads, with a view to improving returns.

Last year's changes also included the appointment of a new chief executive in May, Nic Nicandrou, previously Asia chief financial officer, and of Virginie Maisonneuve in January as dedicated CIO for Eastspring, PCA's fund management arm.

Prudential is not the only insurer to have made major changes in their leadership and investment set-ups in Asia in the past year, the industry is under pressure to boost returns and profitability.

AIA has set up a centralised investment hub in Singapore. Singapore-based NTUC Income has appointed Fullerton Fund Management to run its public-market portfolio and taken a stake in the asset manager. Allianz Asia and Singapore’s Great Eastern Life have both hired new CIOs. French group Axa and Canada’s Manulife have each appointed new Asia and Singapore CEOs.

CIOs from Prudential, Axa Group and many more of the region's leading insurers are among the speakers at AsianInvestor's 5th Insurance Investment Forum in Hong Kong on March 1. For more details, visit the website.