Aberdeen Standard Investments has poached an asset-liability management (ALM) expert from Canadian insurance firm Sun Life to bolster its client solutions team in Asia, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Thibaut Ferret joined the recently merged UK fund house in Hong Kong last month as senior solutions director for Asia Pacific, reporting to Ian McDonald, London-based global head of strategic client solutions. 

In this newly created post Ferret will ensure the delivery of customised investment solutions in Asia to institutional clients, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor

A Sun Life spokeswoman in Canada could not immediately confirm whether Ferret had been or would be replaced.

Thibaut Ferret

Ferret's appointment reflects a trend for asset managers to build up both their solutions/product-tailoring capabilities and their coverage of insurance companies in the region. For instance, BlackRock, HSBC Global Asset Management and JP Morgan Asset Management have all added executives in such areas this year.

Insurers are increasingly handing investments – most notably those made into overseas assets – to external managers. They have outsourced $180 billion of foreign investments as of 2017, according to fintech solutions provider Broadridge. That represents annualised growth of around 20% from just $20 billion in 2012.

That said, Aberdeen Standard last month saw its Asia head of insurance coverage, Alex Boggis, leave after 23 years with the firm. He has been replaced internally by Julia Chen, who added Boggis’s former duties to her existing responsibilities as Taiwan head of institutional business.

Ferret had been Hong Kong head of ALM at Sun Life since June 2017 and before that served as Asia head of investments at French insurer Axa.

Prior to that he was head of financial engineering at Axa Investment Managers in Paris, designing bespoke multi-asset solutions for institutional investors. He has also worked for JP Morgan, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas, according to his LinkedIn page.

*This story has been updated to reflect that Broadridge is a fintech solutions provider.