Tony Archer, a well-known figure in the Asian asset management business after running Axa Investment Management in Hong Kong, has returned to the region in a new senior position at Morgan Stanley Investment Management.

He had gone back to his native Australia with Axa 18 months ago, but decided for personal reasons to return with his family to Hong Kong, according to people familiar with his move.

Asia ex-Japan will continue to be run by Lee Tiong-Seng, executive director in Singapore, while John Buckridge continues to run the Australian operation. Now they report to Archer, whose title is managing director, instead of to London. Sources report that Morgan Stanley wanted to better integrate its various business development and client servicing teams, and find ways to better leverage them across the area. So it created the regional position for Archer. The Japan business remains a separate entity.

He will not be responsible for the investment management teams. The firm has a large team in Singapore, as well as managers in India, running money for Asian equity, emerging market equity and global equity mandates. Narayan Ramachandran is managing director and global co-head of emerging markets, backed up by CIO Ashutosh Sinha.

Archer started work at Morgan Stanley this month but could not be reached for comment.