Robeco has hired its first insurance coverage specialist for Asia, and replaced its Korea sales head and senior client portfolio manager for quant strategies, in a bid to expand its institutional business in the region.

The three Hong Kong-based roles have been filled by Denis Resovac, Brian Kim and Chen Rupeng, respectively. They will all start at the Dutch fund house on Wednesday (July 1), a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor.

Denis Resovac

Resovac takes up the newly created role of head of insurance strategy for Asia Pacific, moving from DWS Investments in Hong Kong. He was responsible for insurance strategy and advisory at the German fund manager, where he spent five years, after working for its parent Deutsche Bank since 2001. Resovac has been in Hong Kong since 2017. DWS declined to comment on the departure.

Before he arrived, Robeco’s insurance clients in Asia were looked after by the regional sales team and Ed Collinge, London-based global head of insurance strategy.

INSURANCE PUSH

Since creating a dedicated focus on solutions for insurers and appointing Collinge in October 2018, Robeco’s insurance business has grown by €5 billion ($5.5 billion) to €20 billion in assets under management as of the end of 2019, it said in a release in February. 

Robeco's insurance assets in Asia Pacific doubled during that period to reach €2 billion, a spokeswoman said. As at March 31, the firm had €146 billion in AUM globally.

Insurers have allocated into Robeco’s credit strategies, its enhanced index offering ­– particularly in emerging market equities – and quantitative fixed income, the firm said in the release. All these investments are fully ESG integrated, it added.

Brian Kim

Resovac's hire reflects a trend among asset managers to build up their coverage of the region's fast-growing insurance segment in recent years, with such clients seen as one of the biggest opportunities. BlackRock, HSBC Global Asset Management and more recently Invesco, among others, have added insurance specialists in Asia the past two years.

Asia Pacific insurance general account assets grew by an annualised 16.5% between 2013 and 2018 to $551 billion, said financial technology and data provider Broadridge in a November report. That compares to yearly growth of 12.9% over the same period for overall addressable Asia Pacific institutional assets. 

Broadridge expects insurance general account assets in Asia Pacific to remain the fastest growing client opportunity in the region for asset managers and to reach $937 billion by the end of 2023.

TEAM REBUILD

Meanwhile, Brian Kim joins Robeco as head of business development for Korea, with a focus on institutional clients. He was previously co-head of institutional sales for Korea at BNP Paribas Asset Management. The French firm said it planned to replace him as part of a move to strengthen its Korea institutional sales team, which is led by Paul Park. 

Kim replaces Ryan Kim, who left in October last year to join US asset manager Eaton Vance in Singapore as business development director. Brian Kim has also previously worked at JP Morgan Asset Management, Kyobo Axa Investment Managers and Fidelity International.

Chen Rupeng

Lastly, Chen Rupeng has moved to Robeco as director of client portfolio management for quant strategies. She comes from British fund house Schroders, where she worked as an investment director in Sydney representing global and emerging market quantitative equity products.

Before moving to Schroders in 2009, she worked at Mercer as an actuarial consultant. Schroders did not respond to a request for comment sent on Sunday (June 28).

Chen will work with Jan Rohof, client portfolio manager for quant equities, who recently relocated from Rotterdam to Hong Kong. They will support Robeco’s distribution teams in Asia Pacific.

Chen succeeds Tom Naaijkens, who has left the firm, while Jan Rohof replaced Frank Wirds, who transferred back to the Netherlands.

Brian Kim reports to Graham Elliot, Asia ex-Japan head of institutional business. Resovac reports globally to Collinge and locally to Elliot. Chen reports globally to Rob van Bommel, head of client portfolio management for quant equities, and locally to Arnout van Rijn, chief investment officer for Asia Pacific.