Dutch asset manager Robeco has confirmed that Tony Edwards will take the reins as Asia-Pacific CEO from September 1, replacing Frances Chang in what is a newly expanded role.

Chang had been CEO of Greater China and Southeast Asia, but retired at the end of last month. Based out of Hong Kong, Edwards will have a wider geographic scope that takes into account the firm’s activities in Japan and Korea.

“It made sense to combine these areas under one leadership, allowing us to have a focused and dedicated approach for the Asia-Pacific region,” says a Robeco spokeswoman. “Tony will assume Frances’ responsibilities. We will not be looking at hiring a replacement [for Chang].”

In the intervening two months before Edwards takes up his new role, Paul Vrancken, COO of Robeco Hong Kong, will take care of Chang’s day-to-day responsibilities.

Edwards had worked as head of Asia-Pacific ex-Japan for US-based asset manager Neuberger Berman since October 2009, but quit in May this year, as reported by AsianInvestor. Shortly afterwards Nick Hoar was named its head of distribution for Asia-Pacific (ex Japan and Korea). Hoar will relocate to Hong Kong, from London, by September. 

Prior to Neuberger Edwards had spent 10 years at AllianceBernstein and served as senior portfolio manager for more than five years in Asia.

He will now target business opportunities for Robeco across the region, including Australia. Also under his remit will be the firm’s Asia Investment Centre activities in Hong Kong, which includes equity investment management, distribution of funds and servicing of institutional clients. The Hong Kong base is a managerial centre for Asia-Pacific.

The centre is led by chief investment officer Arnout van Rijn and focuses on Asian equities offered through Robeco’s Asia-Pacific fund, China equities fund and Asian Stars fund.

Robeco’s global investment management capabilities cover equities and fixed income, including quantitative and fundamental emerging market strategies, sustainable asset management (SAM), food and agri strategies and US value equities.

In alternatives it offers managed futures strategies through subsidiary Transtrend and it provides clean tech private equity through subsidiary SAM Group in Zurich, besides a range of long-short strategies.

In terms of its Greater China capabilities which had been built up by Chang, Robeco has a securities investment consulting enterprise (Sice) in Taiwan to support its master agents in distribution of its SAM fund range.

It has a representative office in Shanghai and in Tianjin it has a joint-venture with the local government’s financial holding arm Teda International in clean tech private equity.

Robeco, which is part of Rabobank Group, has offices in Tokyo, Seoul and Mumbai. It focuses on institutional clients and distribution platforms in Japan and Korea, while in India it has investment management activities in Indian equities and fixed income as well as local distribution to retail and institutional clients through its JV with Canara Bank.

At the end of May, Robeco had €150 billion ($218 billion) in AUM globally, less than 5% of which is sourced from Asia-Pacific. It has around $1 billion in assets in Korea, $1.5 billion in Hong Kong and Southeast Asia, $2 billion in India and $2.5 billion in Japan.