Senior trio handed roles in Mercer realignment

The firm is set to announce new responsibilities for Deborah Bannon, Garry Hawker and Michelle Ng in Asia following its global restructure, saying it is looking for some stability.
Senior trio handed roles in Mercer realignment

Mercer is set to announce further management changes in Asia as part of its structural realignment, AsianInvestor can confirm.

In addition to Tim Jenkins, who was named regional business leader for investments and retirement in growth markets, as reported, Mercer will appoint Deborah Bannon investments business leader for Greater China; Garry Hawker director of consulting for growth markets; and Michelle Ng head of advisory for Greater China.

It comes after Mercer announced the creation of a growth markets region on January 1, comprising Asia, Latin America, Middle East and Africa. This is one of the three regions it subdivides its global business into, along with the Americas (US and Canada) and EuroPac (Europe and the Pacific).

“This is all about a mixture of still doing things globally, but also looking carefully and making sure we have the right teams in the right place to serve local clients on their local issues,” Jenkins tells AsianInvestor. “In the world of investments, so many of the issues transcend global markets. We want to make sure we have working units.”

Phil de Cristo, president of Mercer Investments, adds: “These appointments will help us to stay close to the market and adapt to the specific requirements in Asia.”

In his new role, Hawker will be responsible for ensuring the application of Mercer’s best practice and ideas reaches its Asia clients. He has had a cross-market role for the past five years, being brought in on projects across its market coverage. He started at Mercer in New Zealand in 1992.

Meanwhile, Bannon’s role has been expanded to feature an oversight of Mercer’s full suite of services, including research and tools, advice and solutions. She has been with the firm since June 2011, when she was appointed head of investment management for Greater China alongside Jonathan Gove, as reported. Gove is market leader for Greater China.

Previously she was director of her own firm, Asia Land Fund Advisors, and formerly Asia head of institutional sales at Pioneer Global Investments.

Similarly, Ng’s role has been expanded from head of advisory for Hong Kong to head of advisory for Greater China. She first joined Mercer in 2005.

The realignment sees Mercer move to have investments leaders across its regional hubs, says Jenkins. Formerly Alan Flynn was Mercer’s head of investment consulting for Asia ex-Japan, but left in mid-July last year to help Legal & General Investment Management set up in Asia.

Asked what the firm was seeking to achieve, Jenkins adds: “We are hoping for some stability, actually. We have teams solving client problems in a way that brings global knowledge into the local market place. Global for local is the model.”

Mercer’s investments leaders around Asia are: Bannon for Greater China; Soon Kian Lee for Asean; Yoshinori Kouta for Japan; and Kwang Lee for South Korea.

Jenkins notes that more than 50% of the revenues for its investments business in this region come from Japan and South Korea.

Mercer has previously spoken of its intention to build out its wealth management offering, being led out of Singapore by Edmund Teo. “We are looking at a new manager advisory platform that assists us in that area,” adds Jenkins, referring to an interaction framework between adviser and client as part of the professionalisation of the industry.

Mercer has around 70 staff based on the ground in Asia, outside of Australia and New Zealand, out of a global total of 2,000. It has eight in its manager research team based in Hong Kong, Singapore and Tokyo, out of more than 100 globally.

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