State Street Global Advisors (SSgA) has undertaken a senior staff reshuffle globally amid a drive to expand its equity and credit product lines in both active and passive investments this year.
Lochiel Crafter has been named SSgA's new Asia-Pacific head based in Sydney, succeeding Bernard Reilly, who relocates to take on the role of global head of strategy for SSgA in Boston.
Replacing Crafter as head of investments for Asia-Pacific is Kevin Anderson, who was previously CIO and head of fixed income based in London. He relocates to Hong Kong.
These appointments have occurred over the past few weeks, according to a spokeswoman.
SSgA is seeking to expand its fixed income operations in Asia, given that rock-bottom interest rates have pushed investors to seek higher yielding bonds for alpha generation, including structured credit, and high-yield and emerging market debt.
Declining to offer specifics, Crafter tells AsianInvestor: “We want to continue to build our business in areas where we can add value. We see an increasing demand for emerging market debt exposure.
“Many global institutional investors are particularly underweight emerging markets and have been for some time as they have typically seen them as more of a high-beta play on global growth.”
However, as emerging markets are no longer viewed as a “leverage play” but a key growth area, institutions around the world have sought to up exposure, both in equity and in debt, Crafter says.
Launching new ETFs globally is also on the cards, with Crafter noting that SSgA is focused on Asia. “We’re growing our ETF business globally and increasing the range,” Crafter suggests.
SSgA, which manages $2.2 trillion globally, has ETFs listed in Hong Kong, Singapore and Australia, as well as listed and registered ETFs in Tokyo.
Rick Lacaille, global executive vice-president and CIO, notes that SSgA sees potential to build up its beta franchise. "We also believe in the importance of active management and the essential role that active and alternative strategies can play in enhancing portfolio returns through alpha generation.”
These plans have resulted in a number of executive changes. Steve Meier, currently CIO head of cash based in Boston, will become CIO of fixed income, currency and cash, a new position.
Ted Gekas, existing head of global enhanced equity, will take on a newly created role of CIO and global head of active quantitative equity, also in Boston. Meanwhile Ali Lowe, CIO of global equities, will leave the firm at the end of the year as his role will be absorbed into Gekas’s.