Nikko AM splits Asia CIO role
Acquisitive fund house Nikko Asset Management moved to split the role of Asian chief investment officer as it seeks to build out its regional fixed income capabilities.

It has hired Wang Yu-Ming from Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) to serve as international CIO. He relocates from Hong Kong to operational headquarters in Tokyo, and succeeds Bill Wilder, who drops the role but keeps the title of president.

At the same time Nikko AM promoted Hiroki Tsujimura to CIO for Japan, from head of active investments. Both appointments are effective from January 7 next year.

In a statement, Wilder points to Wang’s expertise in Asian fixed income, saying the firm is seeking to grow its capabilities in this area as well as in Asian equities.

Nikko AM’s head of Asian fixed income is Ling Choon, based in Singapore. He oversees a team of six portfolio managers and four analysts at present.

The statement says Wang will be tasked with growing Nikko AM’s international investment capabilities and developing strategies in areas such as Asian alternative income and bank loans.

Wang is due to exit as head of Asian fixed income at Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) at the end of this year. His role will be taken on by Michael Dommermuth, president of Manulife Asset Management Asia, and Barry Evans, global head of fixed income, until a successor is found.

A Manulife spokeswoman adds: “We have a strong on-the-ground fixed income team comprising more than 45 investment professionals across 10 markets in Asia that will continue to serve the needs of existing and prospective clients. We wish [Wang] well in his future endeavours.”

In his new role Tsujimura will be responsible for investment management activities in the Tokyo office. He joined Nikko AM in 2004 as global head of alternative investments and CIO of the firm’s Americas business based in New York.

Nikko Asset Management has total AUM of $154 billion. It offers a range of equity and fixed income strategies for retail and institutional investors, as well as third-party expertise from 40+ fund managers.

Coutts hires Chua as SE Asia head
UK private bank Coutts announced the appointment of Jacqueline Chua from UBS as market head for Southeast Asia, based in Singapore.

Chua joined as a managing director this week, reporting to Ranjit Khanna, head of Southeast Asia and global non-resident Indians.

She comes in to replace Manfred Liechti, who left Coutts in April this year. Liechti’s departure saw Khanna take on the Southeast Asia role, assuming the responsibilities Liechti had previously held.

Coutts has seen a number of exits this year, including from the Southeast Asia and India teams, as reported.

But the private bank has also been hiring, with Gary Dugan having joined from United Arab Emirates banking group Emirates NBD as CIO for Asia and the Middle East, based in Singapore.

Previously Chua worked as executive director and desk head of the Singapore team at UBS Wealth Management Singapore. It is understood she has not been replaced, with her responsibilities assumed by other members of the team.

Coutts has revised down its 2015 global growth objective, with an objective to grow its client assets and liablities (CAL) to £133 billion ($213 billion) – from an initial £160 billion target.

The bank does not disclose its growth objectives for Asia, although it is expected that its AUM will be evenly split 50:50 between the UK and international operations.

BNPP names deputy CEO for securities arm
French bank BNP Paribas has named Hugo Leung as deputy CEO for its Asia securities arm and head of global equities and commodity derivatives (GECD), Asia Pacific, Greater China.

Effective this week, Leung will represent GECD Asia Pacific in developments with market regulators and exchanges across Greater China. He will also supervise the rep offices of BNPP Equities (Asia) in Shanghai and BNPP Securities (Taiwan).

He will look to develop the bank’s institutional client base interested in China equity and equity-related products, including asset managers, sovereign wealth funds, commercial banks and securities firms in Greater China.

This is an expanded role for Leung, who continues as head of equity syndicate and corporate equity for Asia Pacific.

“Given the economic importance of Greater China trade within the Asia-Pacific region, we are creating a senior and comprehensive management role to capture new business opportunities within the Greater China franchise,” says a spokeswoman.

Australia head of alternatives starts at BlackRock
Asset manager BlackRock this week announced that Andrew Landman had joined the firm as head of alternatives in Australia, following a period of gardening leave.

Based in Sydney, Landman reports to Justin Arter, country head for Australia. He will have responsibility for strengthening BlackRock’s alts investment capabilities, where the firm says it sees demand rising.

“Low returns are focusing investors on the need for better diversification and generation from the active element of investment portfolios, which is driving Australians to invest in alternatives,” Arter says.

Landman was most recently CEO for Ascalon Capital, a subsidiary of BT Financial Group in Australia.

As at the end of September BlackRock managed more than $22 billion in alternatives AUM for Asia-Pacific clients, up $2 billion since from the first quarter. Globally, the group has $113 billion AUM in alternative assets, up $3 billion from end-March.

Manulife shuffles HK retail executives
Manulife (International) announced the promotion of Paul Smith as vice-president and head of individual financial products for Hong Kong.

He started on November 1, heading up growth and development of individual financial products and services, including its life, health, accident, general insurance and credit card franchises.

Before relocating to Hong Kong, Smith was vice-president of marketing and product development for the group’s Canadian division. He comes in to replace George Chew, who became CEO of Manulife Malaysia effective from September 28 this year.

Chi-X appoints director of markets
Alternative trading venue Chi-X Australia named Jamie Crank as head of market operations, reporting to director of markets Jason Keady.

Based in Sydney, Crank joins a 15-strong team. His role is to ensure the smooth running of the platform as it builds market presence. Last week Chi-X Australia, a wholly owned subsidiary of Chi-X Global Holdings, recorded an 8% share of publically traded equities in Australia.

He joins from the London Stock Exchange, where most recently he was head of commercial management, equity and derivatives markets.

His appointment comes as Peter Fowler announced his retirement as chief executive in Chi-X Australia in late November, as reported. The group is looking for a successor.

Withers expands Asia wealth practice in Singapore
Law firm Withers announced the appointment of Simon Michaels as a partner in its Singapore office.

He is due to take up a role in its wealth planning practice next January, advising Singapore’s ultra-high-net-worth families and trust companies.

He joins from Berwin Leighton Paisner, where he was most recently head of its Southeast Asian private client practice.

“Over the coming decade I anticipate the transfer of the bulk of privately owned wealth in Asia to the next generation,” says Michaels. “As a result, the need for bespoke succession mechanisms and appropriate structures with integrated planning for international wealth-owning families is even more critical.”

Michaels’ appointment comes with the recent relocation of partner Erik Wallace in Hong Kong, who will cover international tax, probate, trust and estate planning, with a focus on US individuals and property, as reported.

Financial markets lobby group hires bank veteran
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association has named Patrick Pang as executive director to cover cross markets initiatives and fixed income.

He began in the newly created role last month based in Hong Kong. He will facilitate dialogue and consultation between regulators and its member firms on cross-market issues affecting Asian capital markets, including tax and compliance.

The group, which aims to “promote liquid transparent and efficient capital markets”, is facing two major challenges, Pang tells AsianInvestor.

In Asia, he sees the need for market development in domestic government bonds, futures and repos. Coupled with this is the need for stronger regulatory development, including capital controls and creditor rights.

“Asian financial markets are made up of economies at various stages of growth and levels of sophistication, which creates a fragmented landscape for the financial services industry,” says Pang.

Outside Asia, the group also sees challenges from extraterritorial regulations that will affect its members, including regulatory reforms from Europe and the US, most notably European market infrastructure regulation and the Dodd-Frank Act.

Most recently Pang was with Credit Suisse, although over 20 years he has also worked for Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.

ASIFMA has over 40 member firms involved in Asian markets, including global and regional banks, securities dealers, brokers, asset managers, credit-rating agencies, law firms, trading and analytic platforms, and clearance and settlement providers.

HKMEx names business development director
The Hong Kong Mercantile Exchange appointed Eric Maine as director of business development to support its forthcoming launch of commodity derivative products.

Starting this week in Hong Kong, Maine is responsible for managing new product launches from origination to market execution and delivery. Previously he worked as head of product development and management for commodities at Singapore Exchange.

The HKMEx plans to launch gold and copper contracts denominated in renminbi, followed by other products in precious and base metals, as well as energy, agriculture, and commodity exchanges.

The group recently appointed Jane Wang and William Barkshire as co-presidents following Albert Helmig’s retirement in August, as reported.

Other people moves reported by AsianInvestor over the past week:

Who tops AsianInvestor's list of moves for 2012?