UBS Global Asset Management (Japan) has named Susumu Okamura as president and representative director.

Okamura assumes the role from Christof Kutscher, who remains Asia-Pacific head of UBS Global Asset Management. Kutscher concurrently held the position of president and representative director of UBS Global Asset Management (Japan) since June 2007.

Most recently, Okamura was head of the institutional marketing and products team of UBS Global AM (Japan). Before joining UBS in October 2005, he spent two decades working for Dai-ichi Mutual Life Insurance Company in a variety of senior positions in Japan and the US. In 2000, he was named president and CEO of the US division of DIAM.

In his new role, Okamura will continue report to Kutscher, who returns to Hong Kong to focus on his role as Asia- Pacific head.

Kutscher has been running the Asia-Pacific operation for over four years, which included leading joint ventures in China and Korea. UBS took a 49% stake in Shenzhen-based China Dragon Fund Management, a unit of ChinaÆs State Investment Development Corporation, and in January 2008 it sealed a 50/50 JV with Shanghai property developer Gemdale to build housing in China. Last year it took a 51% stake in Daehan Investment Trust Management, a unit of Hana Group that has been rebranded Hana UBS Asset Management.

ôWe have repositioned our Japan business over the past two years, especially our wholesale mutual fund business which is thriving notwithstanding the difficult market conditions,ö says Kutscher.

The wholesale channel is the biggest potential source of growth for UBS Global Asset Management in Asia, particularly in Japan.

Japan became a key focus for UBS Asset Management, which explains why Kutscher moved his seat of operations to Tokyo last year.

UBS Global AMÆs expansion among wholesale distributors has been the fastest growing in Japan, with plenty of fund launches, including products for Brazil and China equities, climate-change investment themes and asset-allocation products. These have all been retail-focused products sold via the biggest securities companies.

In a previous interview with AsianInvestor, Kutscher said in order to make the fund houseÆs gains in Japan sustainable, the key is to localise management and this is where Okamura fits in.

UBS Global Asset Management has around $630 billion in assets under management worldwide.