Senior GSAM execs leave Asia

GSAM hires someone to cover institutions but must find a replacement for departing business head Phil Gardner.

Philip Gardner, head of Goldman Sachs Asset Management's business for Asia ex-Japan, is relocating from Singapore to Australia, while Hahm Hong-joo, who ran the institutional sales team out of Hong Kong, is returning to his previous employer, the World Bank.

The firm has managed to find a replacement for Hahm: Janet Kong, senior research manager in the economics department of the Hong Kong Monetary Authority. She will join in April and handle relations with central banks and governments.

Like Hahm, Kong has a background at multilateral organizations. Before joining the HKMA, she worked in the capital markets, fiscal affairs and European affairs units at the International Monetary Fund and served as a consultant to the World Bank for international economics and policy research.

Hahm is headed for Washington, DC, to serve in the World Bank's treasury group and learn about its financial products. The World Bank faces a problem of 'negative disbursements' - the loans it makes to governments today are far smaller than the massive projects it funded in the past, leaving many governments, particularly in Asia, facing a mismatch. The World Bank is therefore looking at how to help develop capital markets in areas such as credit-enhancement currency swaps and domestic bond markets. Hahm says he hopes to return to the region with the Bank within a year. He had previously served there as an economist before joining GSAM in 2000.

Gardner is returning to his native Australia to join GSJBWere Asset Management as managing director of institutional business. In addition to expanding the firm's business among institutions in Australia and New Zealand, he will also work with the retail and cash products teams to go after the fund of funds market and the institutional cash management business.

GSAM has yet to determine who will run the Asia ex-Japan business. Stephen Fitzgerald is co-head of GSAM in Asia, and he will remain in charge, but people familiar with the firm say his priority is the private banking business, which has a separate (and larger) P&L line.