SSgA repositions for global opportunities

Mark Lazberger moves to a new role as head of international business, while Justin Pascoe becomes Asia CIO.

State Street Global Advisors has promoted Mark Lazberger to a newly created position, head of international business, and transferred him from Tokyo to London. Previously he served as country head of Japan for State Street, including SSgA, as well as for State Street Global Markets and State Street Bank and Trust. He had also retained oversight of the Australian market, which he had run directly prior to moving to Japan.

Koji Yamamoto continues his role as managing director for SSgA in Japan, while Michael Wilson is moving from Boston to act as Japan country head. Robert Goodlad continues to oversee Australia for SSgA, and Bernard Reilly handles Asia ex-Japan, having recently transferred to Hong Kong from Australia to replace Vincent Duhamel, who left to join Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Reilly describes Lazberger's role not so much a change as it is an expansion: whereas before he was responsible for SSgA in Japan and Australia, now he's responsible for both of those markets, Asia ex-Japan, and indeed everywhere outside of North America.

The firm wants to exploit growth opportunities outside of North America and Lazberger's role will be to coordinate the various regions, so as to allocate SSgA's resources most effectively. "It's hard to tell where the biggest opportunities are if you're just sitting in your own patch," Reilly explains.

Separately, SSgA has appointed Justin Pascoe as CIO for Asia ex-Japan and transferred him to Hong Kong from Australia. It is his second tour in Hong Kong for the firm, having served previously as direct of investments before moving to Melbourne as an investment strategist. Pascoe reports to Lochiel Crafter, CIO for Asia Pacific. Pascoe is taking over the job that Winnie Pun used to have, although she had a different title and tended to focus more on product engineering, whereas the growth of assets under management necessitated a more formal CIO role for Asia. Pun left earlier this year to join BlackRock in Hong Kong.

On the business development side, Bernard Reilly says his priority for SSgA in the region is to develop its growing active management business. The firm has had success in Korea and Singapore marketing its active business, but in markets such as Taiwan remains best known for its passive or ETF businesses. "We're branded as an indexer in some markets so that's my challenge," Reilly says.

He's worked for the firm for 15 years, previously running the Australia business. While Australia, perhaps the world's most sophisticated asset management market, does offer some directions for Asian markets, Reilly notes that there are fundamental differences and that one can't simply copy ideas.

For example, the opportunities in alternative investments and infrastructure investments, a favourite of superannuation funds, is made possible in part by the government's privatization effort, which doesn't exist in many Asian markets. Nor does he think Asia will, or should, go down Australia's super choice route for members in retirement schemes. He does hope, however, that as Asian markets implement various corporate pension schemes, there will be some degree of investment choice, creating opportunities for fund managers.