Dutch asset manager Robeco has accepted the resignation of its Asia-Pacific chief executive, Tony Edwards, who is understood to have relocated to his native UK from Hong Kong for family reasons.

The move came as a surprise both to the firm’s management and the industry, as the regional business had been doing well under his leadership, according to sources.

Robeco said in a statement that it will decide on its Asia-Pacific management in the near future. In the meantime, Hester Borrie, head of global distribution and marketing and a member of the management board, will oversee the regional business. ​

AsianInvestor understands that Edwards has several irons in the fire as regards his next move, but could not reach him to confirm what they might be.

Edwards’ licence with Robeco ended on October 9, according to news and analysis provider Webb-Site. He had joined the firm in September 2011, since when it has been acquired, in mid-2013, by Japanese financial services group Orix Corporation. It is thought that Orix has been relatively ‘hands-off’ since the deal and allowed Robeco to develop the regional business as it sees fit.

The fund house's global AUM stood at €273 billion as of June 30 this year, up from €150 billion in May 2011. Some $9 billion of the total is believed to be have been sourced from Asia Pacific as of today, having grown more than fourfold from around $2 billion in May 2011. The firm did not confirm this by press time.

One industry observer said Jacqueline Wong, head of wholesale distribution for Asia (excluding Japan and Korea), had been making strong progress developing the retail and private banking business.

Edwards’ departure follows the announcement last month that Robeco’s global CEO, Roderick Munsters, was stepping down. David Steyn will take over as CEO and chairman on November 1, having previously been in charge of strategy at Aberdeen Asset Management.

Before joining Robeco, Edwards had been Asia head at US fund house Neuberger Berman. Prior to Neuberger he had spent 10 years at AllianceBernstein.