Vervoorn promoted to head HFT’s HK subsidiary
Joint venture HFT Investment Management has promoted Jelle Vervoorn to managing director of its Hong Kong subsidiary. It comes as the subsidiary’s CEO, Chi Lo, readies to leave.

Vervoorn started in his new role on August 1 and is responsible for running the day-to-day business, including operations, compliance and business development.

Asked if he would be taking over the responsibilities of Lo, who is due to exit on October 31, a company spokesperson says Vervoorn was appointed to head HFT IM’s subsidiary and has been managing day-to-day operations since August 1.

Lo is credited with opening the group’s Hong Kong subsidiary in November 2010 with a team of 10, which has since grown to 16.

Vervoorn says he intends to build on the business’ core strength of a fundamentally driven investment process, particularly for China’s onshore A-share market.

“We are constantly looking into new funds that we can introduce,” he adds, pointing to the prospect of further deregulation in China. “It is becoming more feasible to bring strategies that are already available for the onshore market to an international investor base such as high-yield fixed income, absolute return and index-related, to name a few.”

This February HFT HK launched its China RMB fixed income fund which invests in investment-grade bonds, having received an Rmb1.1 billion quota and RQFII licence last December.

More recently, the firm launched an advisory service for investors with their own quotas as Chinese regulators began to fast-track the approval process for QFII licences and quotas.

Vervoorn notes that while institutional investors shied away from the Asia marketplace for two years, they are starting to show interest in Chinese equities on the understanding the market is bottoming out.

The size of QFII funds managed by HFT HK, in conjunction with JV partner BNP Paribas Investment Partners, stood at $3.4 billion at the end of June. BNPP IP holds a minority 49% stake in the venture and Haitong Securities 51%.

Vervoorn joined HFT in August last year, before which he served as chief of product development and strategy at Mayban Investment Management in Malaysia and deputy head of retail sales for Fortis Investments in the Benelux.

Coutts names head of credit risk for Asia
The Royal Bank of Scotland’s wealth division, Coutts, announced it had appointed Phillip Reade formerly of UBS as its new head of credit risk in Asia.

Based in Hong Kong, Reade began in mid-July covering sanctioning processes, portfolio management, policy and management information, risk assessment and controls. He reports to Errol D’Souza, who joined the firm this March, as reported.

Reade is a replacement for Li Li Seah, who joined RBC’s wealth management business in Singapore last year as vice-president for group risk management.    

AsianInvestor understands Coutts is set to announce three more senior hires in coming weeks including a head of Southeast Asia, who will report to incumbent South Asia head Ranjit Khanna, and a head of non-resident Indian business.

Prior to Coutts, Reade spent 14 years at UBS, where he was most recently head of credit risk control for UBS’s wealth management arm. He has been in Hong Kong since 2005 and has also worked in other credit roles.

A spokesperson for UBS in Hong Kong confirms that Reade left the firm back in 2011 and that he has been replaced.

Aviva unveils head of institutional sales from BlackRock
UK-headquartered Aviva Investors has announced the appointment of Brett Jackson from BlackRock as head of institutional business development for Australasia.

He started in early August based in Melbourne in what the firm says is a newly created role to build relations with institutional clients including superannuation funds. He reports to Erich Gerth, Asia-Pacific chief executive and head of global business development.

Jackson was previously at BlackRock Australia, where he was institutional sales director covering Australia and New Zealand. A spokesman for BlackRock confirmed that he had left in May and adds it does not expect to replace him.

Middle East expansion for RBC wealth management
RBC Wealth Management announced it had appointed Ben Taylor as director to its Middle East and Levant desk in a newly created position as it strives to grow more aggressively in the region.

Based in London, Taylor began on August 20 and reports to Neena Shah, head of Middle East and Levant desk. Shah commented that London’s prime residential market has been the most popular asset class amongst its clients.

In Dubai, RBC is looking to double its office size in the next three years from about 15 today, while in London it is seeking to double its relationship managers to 100 by 2015, from 50 now.

RBC is also expanding in other regions, having announced its intention to buy Coutts’ Latin American, Caribbean and African private banking operations this March.

“We are looking to expand with a focus on the UK and in emerging markets, including in Asia and Latin America,” a bank spokesman says. “This will be a combination of organic growth and small and medium-sized acquisitions, either of wealth or asset management businesses. In Asia our focus is on building on our hubs in Singapore and Hong Kong.”

Taylor was most recently an RM focused on the Mena region for HSBC Private Bank in London.

Nomura bags latest RBS staffer
Japanese investment bank Nomura has hired Jon Linton from the Royal Bank of Scotland as its head of macro products for Australia. He is the latest of a number of former RBS staff to join.

Based in Sydney, Linton reports locally to Australia CEO Hiroyuki Nishikawa and regionally to Asia-Pacific head of fixed income trading Yutaka Nakajima. He was most recently head of fixed income trading at RBS Australia and before that head of euro flow rates in London.

Other recent appointments from RBS include Ben Metcalfe as managing director of rates in June and Gary Cottle as head of fixed income for Europe, Middle East and Africa in August. And former RBS veteran Michael Ullmer joined from NAB in July as Australia advisory board member.

These hires come after Steve Ashley joined Nomura in May 2010 having spent six years at RBS. He is now the Japanese bank’s global head of fixed income.

The bank has been hiring, recently appointing Jai Rajpal as global head of FX and Rig Karkhanis as head of fixed income for Asia ex-Japan.

Separately, sources say Tim Rocks from BoA-Merrill Lynch is expected to start at Nomura in October as managing director and equity strategist for Australia.

Cloherty named global compliance chief
John Hancock Financial, the US division of Manulife Financial, has named Kevin Cloherty senior vice-president and global compliance chief, effective from August 1.

Based in Boston, Cloherty replaces James Gallagher and has oversight of Manulife’s compliance activities in Asia, Canada and the US. His responsibilities include global issues such money laundering, corruption, privacy, market conduct and regulatory risk management.

Reporting to him is the firm’s Asia chief compliance officer, Jennifer Tse, who is based in Hong Kong.

Cloherty joined Manulife and John Hancock in 2005 following the collapse of the Boston law firm Testa, Hurwitz and Thibeault, where he was in its litigation practice. Prior to this he spent 11 years in different drug enforcement roles within the US justice department.

Newedge hires Ponton from DBS Bank
Brokerage Newedge announced the appointment of Anne Ponton from DBS Bank as regional head of process and project management for Asia Pacific.

Ponton comes in as a director based in Singapore and is responsible for new initiatives including process improvement and system reengineering to drive regional business growth.

She had previously worked as vice-president of the technology and operations improvement programme for DBS Bank for just four months to July 2012.

Prior to that she was vice-president for operational excellence at Credit Suisse, where she worked for less than two years. She has also worked as a program manager at Société Générale and a consultant at Murex SEA.

At Newedge she reports regionally to Ron Savino, head of Hong Kong and chief administration officer for Asia Pacific, and functionally to Daniel Toth, global head of process and project management.

Newedge is a 50:50 venture between SocGen and Crédit Agricole. It offers clearing and execution covering a range of securities, and also provides prime brokerage and asset financing.

Other people moves reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Kai Sotorp returns to run UBS Global AM

E Fund targets global growth with BBVA's Lee

RBS hires from Barclays in prime services

China AMC flatly denies new GM rumour

Hardy quits Northern Trust for BlackRock