Masaki Taniguchi, group chief operating officer for Japan’s Sparx Asset Management – one of Asia’s largest hedge fund managers with $7 billion in AUM – is parting ways with the firm, AsianInvestor can reveal.

The move closely follows the exit of Kam Bahra, who until the end of last month had served as chief executive officer of Sparx Asia Investment Advisors, formerly known as PMA Investment Advisors, which manages the group’s Asia ex-Japan vehicles.  

Replacements for Taniguchi and Bahra, who are both based in Hong Kong, have yet to be officially announced. Sparx declined to comment in response to AsianInvestor queries.

What it means is that Taniguchi’s tenure as group COO lasted less than a year. He started last March when he was tapped from his previous post as president of Sparx Asset Management. The appointment resulted in his re-location to Hong Kong from Tokyo. Taniguchi was raised in Taipei and speaks, reads and writes Chinese.

Tokyo-based Sparx manages about $7 billion across a series of alternative funds in the region, down from its peak at $15 billion in AUM back in 2007. Since 2005, Sparx has expanded in Asia through the acquisition of South Korea’s Cosmo Investment Management and Hong Kong’s PMA, the latter of which was rebranded last year under the Sparx umbrella.

Taniguchi and Bahra are among several executive changes at Sparx over the past two years. Cosmo founder Kevin Choi, who had served as the firm’s investment officer, departed in 2010, while in August last year six members of Sparx Asia Investment Advisors’ credit team left to form their own fund, Double Haven, which is being managed out of Hong Kong.