UBS Global Asset Management has hired industry veteran Julie Koo from rival HSBC Global Asset Management as head of institutional distribution for Asia Pacific, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Based in Hong Kong, this is a newly created role for UBS Global AM. The appointment becomes effective on April 13, with Koo set to report to Rene Buehlmann, the firm’s head of global asset management for Asia Pacific.

In an internal memo seen by AsianInvestor, Buehlmann explained that Koo would lead the institutional client relationship managers and business developers covering Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, offshore Korea and Taiwan.

In addition she will be tasked with ensuring coordination and senior coverage for the firm’s domestic institutional businesses in Australia, Japan, Korea and China, with the respective country heads with a dotted reporting line in to her.

“With this newly established role we aim to capture synergies and efficiencies across the region, focus on a more segmented approach with our institutional clients and ensure a consistent quality of both advice and coverage of our institutional partners,” Buehlmann was quoted in the memo as saying.

In a recent interview with AsianInvestor, Buehlmann outlined his plans for building UBS Global AM in the Asia Pacific region, having been appointed as regional head of the business in the middle of last year, as reported.

The firm has set an ambitious growth target of doubling its $150 billion in assets sourced from clients based in Asia Pacific by 2018. At present the firm has around $680 billion in assets globally.

Buehlmann expressed the desire to build scale both in the wholesale business beyond what its wealth management business stands for as well as with institutional clients in the region.

“Clearly institutional business is an area we will strengthen and expand our team,” he told AsianInvestor, pointing out that it had added 10% in staffing terms in Japan “with the clear intention of capturing institutional sales”.

On a general note he said UBS had seen “a fair bit of institutional interest” in outcome oriented solutions such as smart-beta, given the low-yield environment.

He later added: “Want to grow in all segments, whether wealth management, third party, wholesale and institutional business, across the region in every market we operate in.”

UBS Global AM as an institution is present domestically in seven Asia-Pacific markets: Taiwan, Japan, Australia, Korea, China, Hong Kong and Singapore. These are the markets it believes will drive revenue growth. It covers other Asian markets from an offshore basis.

Koo is an experienced campaigner with a 20-year career history in the asset management industry. She has covered multiple areas from marketing and product management to restructuring operations and business development.

In her previous role she was responsible for leading institutional sales strategy for HSBC Global Asset Management in Asia. In that role she provided investment and service advice to insurance firms, sovereign wealth funds and pension funds.

Prior to joining HSBC, Koo spent more than 15 years with Fidelity International, where she held various positions within its institutional sales business.

She has lived in Asia since 2006, before which she worked as a director in the UK with Fidelity covering institutional business for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Koo started her career at Fidelity Management Trust Company in the US.

A spokesman for HSBC Global Asset Management confirmed that Koo had left but declined to confirm any other details, including whether the firm had found a replacement.