NCSSF names new chairman
China’s State Council this week appointed former finance minister Xie Xuren as chairman of the National Council for Social Security Fund (NCSSF).

He is now responsible for the Rmb868 billion ($139 billion) in strategic reserves for the country’s pension system. Replacing Dai Xianglong, Xie will also become NCSSF party secretary.

It’s common practice for the retiring finance minister to head NCSSF. The first chairman, Liu Zhongli, and the second, Xiang Huicheng, were both finance minister before heading the fund.

Before becoming finance minister, Xie worked in the state administration of taxation department. His successor as finance minister is Lou Jiwei, former chairman of China Investment Corporation.

EPF investment head succeeds CEO in Malaysia
The deputy chief executive of investment at Malaysia’s Employees Provident Fund (EPF) is set to replace the state entity’s CEO on April 16, according to media reports.

Shahril Ridza Ridzuan, appointed for a two-year term, will take over from Tan Sri Azlan Zainol, who has been at the helm of the world’s sixth-largest sovereign pension fund for the past 12 years.

EPF did not respond by press time to requests for confirmation or queries as to who would replace Ridzuan.

The widely respected Ridzuan has been at EPF since 2009 and has also been managing director of Malaysian Resources Corp. One senior Kuala Lumpur-based funds executive said following news of his promotion: "Shahril is first class. Very clear and direct without being overbearing."

Since Azlan started his tenure as CEO on April 16, 2001, EPF has seen its assets under management rise nearly threefold from RM184.57 billion to RM510.1 billion ($164 billion) as at September 30, 2012.

The fund has been seeking to diversify its portfolio in recent years by allocating more to foreign assets and to investments such as alternatives, including property and private equity.

For example, it will be holding a private equity summit in Kuala Lumpur on March 25-26, at which a number of major PE firms will be present, AsianInvestor understands.

Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management continues reshuffle
Newly merged Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management (DeAWM) continues its reshuffle in the region with the announcement of Venkatesh Narasiah as chief operating officer for Asia Pacific.

He replaces Boris Liedtke, who is moving to DeAWM’s global operating platform and re-engineering group and who had, prior to the unit's integration in September, been Asia-Pacific head of Deutsche Asset Management (DeAM).

Most recently, Narasiah was sub-market head for Australia, Japan and India in the private wealth management division for Asia Pacific. He joined Deutsche’s private banking arm in 2007 as COO.

Narasiah will report globally to Jon Eilbeck, global COO for DeAWM and regionally to Ravi Raju, head of DeAWM for Asia Pacific.

Meanwhile, Andrew Kwek is leaving his post as Singapore CEO of DeAM and Asia head of sales for DWS, the firm’s retail business, at the end of March, as first reported by AsianInvestor.

In early March, the co-CEO of Deutsche Asset Management (DeAM) in Korea, Yong Shin, also departed the firm, leaving Terry Hwang with sole leadership of the business. Hwang was previously co-CEO with Yong and before that Korea head of DeAM property arm RREEF in 2010.

Sidley Austin poaches Ho from Clifford Chance
Law firm Sidley Austin has named Ho Han Ming as Singapore-based partner and co-head of its Asia investment funds practice alongside Hong Kong-based Effie Vasilopoulos.

He joins from rival Clifford Chance, where he was a partner heading the Singapore investment funds practice. He has substantial experience advising clients on the structuring and formation of investment funds, including hedge funds, private equity funds, real estate funds, exchange-traded funds and other structured financial products.

Ho will be the city’s first Singapore-qualified lawyer, following Sidley’s receipt of a qualifying foreign law practice (QFLP) licence there that enables it to provide local legal advice.

Among other activities, this will mean the law firm can now, most significantly, advise clients on the setting up of Singapore-domiciled funds, which the law firm sees as a growth area.

“The Singapore government has long indicated that it wants to develop the city into a fund management hub,” Vasilopoulos tells AsianInvestor. “I see them as very clear-thinking, progressive and supportive for industry growth.

“We are seeing a trend of fund management clients who are moving from Hong Kong to Singapore to participate in that growth,” she adds.

Asked who would replace Ho, Mark Shipman, global head of Clifford Chance's funds practice based in Hong Kong, said that while Ho made an "important contribution to the team", the firm retains a very strong Asia-Pacific team, with seven partners and 23 associates across Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney and Tokyo.

“We remain fully committed to our funds practice in Singapore, he adds. "We currently have a team of six dedicated fund practitioners who are both Singapore- and UK-qualified.”

Both Clifford Chance and Sidley Austin picked up awards from AsianInvestor in 2012, the former being named legal services provider of the year and Asia ex-Japan law firm of the year, and the latter alternatives law firm of the year.

PineBridge names Korea head of institutional sales
PineBridge Investments has appointed Min Kyeung-Won as head of institutional sales in South Korea, reporting to Rajeev Mittal, Asia-Pacific CEO.

Based in Seoul, Min will assume responsibility for all business development in South Korea. A spokesman says the position is a newly created one, without making it clear who covered the institutional segment there in the past.

Min has previously worked for KBC Financial Products Hong Kong, Nomura Securities Seoul and UBS Securities Seoul.

His appointment follows the departure of Linda Luk last July, ex-head of retail and intermediary channels for Hong Kong and Singapore, who left for Vanguard. Some suggested that PineBridge was refocusing more on the institutional space than the retail market, but a spokeswoman denied this was the case.

PineBridge had AUM of $71.7 billion as of December 31, but does not disclose regional figures. With Hong Kong as the regional headquarters, the group has operations in China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

Beazley to succeed Wilder as Nikko AM president
Japan’s Nikko Asset Management has named chairman and CEO Charles Beazley as president to succeed Bill Wilder, who will retire on April 1.

Wilder joined the group in 2004 as president and chief investment officer. In January, Wang Yu-Ming was appointed international CIO and Hiroki Tsujimura as Japan CIO to allow for the transition of Wilder’s investment oversight responsibilities.

Beazley has previously spoken to AsianInvestor of his plans to become the world’s leading Asian asset manager, and the leading manager of Asian equity and fixed income products for international clients.

The route to scaling up has been acquisitive: prominent purchases in the past two years have been Tyndall Investments in Australia and Singapore-based DBS Asset Management. It has also bought and inherited stakes in other businesses and has a number of joint ventures in the region.

In 2012, Nikko’s Asia Pacific-sourced AUM saw a drop of around 6% from $164.8 billion to $155.1 billion.

Lunar Capital appoints new sector partners
Chinese consumer-focused private equity firm Lunar Capital has appointed Vincent Sun to a newly created partner role this month.

Sun joins as sector partner for high-end branded consumer products, overlooking due diligence responsibilities for its portfolio companies as they expand their brands in China.

Sun is expected to be seconded as general manager of IPP Asia, which markets and distributes Italian childrenswear brand I Pinco Pallino in Asia. Sun was previously China general manager for Parker Pens.

This follows another partner appointment in mid-2012, Simon Liu. Since joining Lunar, he has been seconded as CEO of beverage company Joysun. Liu previously had senior positions at beverage companies in China including Vitasoy and Coca-Cola.

Eurex appoints new Hong Kong head
Derivatives exchange Eurex has named Markus Georgi to succeed Paul Lo as chief representative for its Hong Kong representative office.

Based in Singapore, Georgi will cover the firm’s business in Hong Kong, India and the Middle East. He leads a team of seven and reports to Roland Schwinn, head of business development for Asia and the Middle East for Eurex and Germany’s Deutsche Börse.

Georgi tells AsianInvestor he will look to strengthen Hong Kong as a Eurex trading hub and increase its client base in the region, especially Hong Kong, India and Middle East. He also plans to develop India as “a very important upcoming market for Eurex” and focus on new products and services for Asian investors and trading firms.

Before taking up his new role, Georgi was head of business development for India and the Middle East. Prior to that, he was with brokerage Newedge in Singapore with its global high-frequency and proprietary trading group sales team.

Euex established its offices in Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo in 2009 and has around 20 exchange participants and trading locations connected to Eurex in the region.

Deutsche Börse is the owner of Eurex after having bought out its Swiss joint-venture partner SIX group last year.

Malaysia’s Sidrec names CEO
Malaysia’s Securities Industry Dispute Resolution Centre (Sidrec) appointed Sujatha Sekhar Naik as its new CEO as of March 18, replacing Khairul Ridzwan Abdul Kuddus.

She is seconded from the country’s Securities Commission, where she was most recently deputy general manager and head of investor affairs and complaints. 

Sidrec acts as a dispute resolution body for the capital markets between investors and Sidrec members representing both buy and sell sides, including asset management companies and investment banks.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor.net this week:

JP Morgan Private Bank rebalancing Asia staff

Sumitomo Mitsui expanding in fund admin

Leow exits BNY Mellon's asset servicing unit

DeAM Singapore CEO exits amid overhaul

New CSRC chairman to follow reform roadmap

BlackRock hires head of consultant relations