Vietcombank Fund Management (VCBF), an asset management firm focused on private equity investments in Vietnam, has named Gregory Robinson-Kok as its CEO.

The Vietnam-focused fund house is a joint venture between Franklin Resources, which operates under the Franklin Templeton Investments corporate name, and Vietcombank, the state-owned commercial bank. The appointment is subject to regulatory approval by VietnamÆs State Securities Commission.

Robinson-Kok succeeds Stephen Grundlingh, country head for Templeton Asset Management (Singapore), who has served as interim CEO of VCBF since Franklin TempletonÆs acquisition of a 49% share in the firm in February 2008. The remaining 51% of VCBF is owned by Vietcombank.

Robinson-Kok is expected to bring to the fund house his global experience in operations, compliance, accounting and risk management that are critical elements in building the franchise. He is a chartered accountant with years of experience in the financial industry, having held senior roles globally in operations, compliance and risk, as well as financial institution audit and assurance.

He joined Franklin Templeton in April 2004 and most recently has been responsible for building and implementing the companyÆs transfer agency global risk and control function outside of the US. Prior to joining Franklin Templeton, Robinson-Kok was head of compliance for HSBC in Bermuda and audit manager for financial institutions with Deloitte & Touche in South Africa.

Previously based in Franklin TempletonÆs office in Edinburgh, he has relocated to Vietnam and is based in Ho Chi Minh City.

Franklin TempletonÆs strategic relationship with VCBF marks its first joint venture in Vietnam and while the focus for now is private equity investments, this provides an opportunity for the firm to build a local asset management presence. The relationship combines the benefits of a local asset management presence in Vietnam with global investment expertise and resources. Franklin Templeton also intends to partner with Vietcombank to make its investment funds available, in time and as regulations permit, to Vietnamese investors.

Templeton Asset Management, a subsidiary of Franklin Templeton, opened a representative office in Ho Chi Minh City in August, which conducts company research for the companyÆs emerging markets investment group, with a team of analysts reporting to Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management and president of Templeton Emerging Markets Fund. Around 8% of Franklin TempletonÆs assets under management are currently from investors in the Asia-Pacific region, and Vietnam is expected to be a key area of focus in expanding the companyÆs penetration in the region.

Franklin Templeton established its presence in the Asia-Pacific region in the late 1980s and today has offices in China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia. Its stake in the VCBF venture expands Franklin TempletonÆs local asset management capabilities, which currently include Brazil, Canada, China (via joint venture), India, Japan, and Korea.