CIC head to become finance minister
Lou Jiwei, chairman of China’s sovereign wealth fund, has been appointed as the next finance minister, reports the South China Morning Post. The move is part of a major cabinet reshuffle due to be approved by the top legislature this month.
Government sources said Lou would replace Xie Xuren to lead fiscal policy. At 66, Xie has passed the retirement age of 65 for a minister.
The decision comes after Communist Party bosses, including party chief Xi Jinping and premier-in-waiting Li Keqiang, decided to keep Zhou Xiaochuan as central bank governor despite him reaching retirement age.
Meanwhile, Zhang Xiaoqiang, a vice-chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission, will be appointed chairman of the board of supervisors of China Investment Corporation (CIC), replacing Jin Liqun.
Jin will become chairman of China International Capital Corp. (CICC), the mainland’s leading investment bank, while former CICC top boss Li Jiange will become chairman of Shenyin Wanguo Securities. It remains to be seen who will be picked to fill the vacancy left by Lou.
Head of Korea’s NPS resigns
Korea’s National Pension Service chairman Jun Kwang-won tendered his resignation on February 22 after the country’s newly elected president, Park Geun-hye, took office on Monday, reported the Korea Herald.
Under Jun’s stewardship, which began in 2009, the pension fund has grown significantly to hit 400 trillion won ($369 billion) in AUM. NPS is the world’s fourth biggest pension fund, behind Japan’s GPIF, Norway’s GPFG and the Netherlands’ ABP.
In 2012, the NPS achieved returns of about 7% after a losing 2.31% in 2011. It has been vocal to the government on the need to increase its investment in riskier assets such as hedge funds or overseas equities, most notably Chinese stocks.
Prior to 2009, Jun was chairman of Korea’s Financial Services Commission, the regulator for financial policy and supervision that he founded. Before that, he was chairman of the Asia-Pacific regional committee for the International Organisation of Securities Commissions.
Jun’s term coincides with the resignation of Kim Seok-dong, chairman to the financial services commission, on Monday. He was quoted as saying: “Without my voluntary resignation, I am going to land the new administration with unnecessary burden and responsibility,” in the FSC’s official blog.
Vanguard announces investment team changes
Index specialist Vanguard has reshuffled its investment team, promoting Gregory Davis, head of the bond index group since 2007, to Asia-Pacific chief investment officer. The current regional CIO, Joseph Brennan, is returning to the US to lead the group’s equity index group.
Davis will relocate from the firm’s head office in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania to Melbourne to run Vanguard’s Australia-based investment team, which manages $64 billion in equity and fixed income portfolios.
Other job moves include Josh Barrickman, who now heads the bond index group, and John Ameriks, who now oversees Vanguard’s active equity group within the equity investment group.
The reshuffle is part of the group’s effort to broaden investment managers’ experience and provide them with new responsibilities, says the firm.
Vanguard has around $200 billion of its $2.3 trillion AUM sourced from Asia, according to AsianInvestor figures published in December.
JP Morgan reshuffles Middle East wealth team
The wealth management arm of JP Morgan announced the promotion of Jonathan Conner as head of the Middle East private banking team.
Based in Geneva, Conner reports to Pablo Garnica, head of Europe, the Middle East and Asia, and will have responsibility for expanding the bank’s footprint in the region. He replaces Paolo Moscovici, who is now head of the emerging markets team.
Conner was most recently a senior banker on the Middle East team. He joined JP Morgan from Citi in 2007, where he was chief of staff to the CEO of its private banking arm.
Additionally, the bank hired Ramsey Jallad as executive director and senior banker for the team, reporting to Jonathan Conner. Jallad joins from The Family Office, where he was a relationship manager for high-net-worth and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals in Kuwait and Bahrain.
“The core of our private clients are UHNW families in the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council]; predominantly the merchant families in the region,” says a spokesman. “Our goal is to continue to grow at a steady pace in the region – we are hiring very selectively.”
Globally, JP Morgan Private Bank has $878 billion in client assets under management.
CEO named for new Dubai property fund
Dubai-based joint venture Investment Corporation of Dubai-Brookfield has appointed Douglas Kirkman as CEO as it prepares to launch a real estate fund investing in the emirate.
Having started this month, CEO Kirkman will be responsible for all aspects of the fund, including originating and executing transaction.
The fund is expected to raise $1 billion in AUM and will be invested in property in Dubai, with a focus on commercial and industrial real estate. Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the investment arm for the Dubai government, and Brookfield Asset Management are each expected to seed the fund with $100 million.
Kirkman was most recently managing director at Blackstone, where he helped set up their Indian real estate business.
Blackstone did not respond by press time to enquiries as to whether Kirkman has been or would be replaced.
MAS names new board member
The Monetary Authority of Singapore has announced the appointment of Quek See-Tiat to its board of directors for a term to run from March 1 to May 31, 2015.
Alongside his board duties, he will continue his responsibility as chairman of the Building and Construction Authority, as well as board member to the Energy Market Authority and shipping company Neptune Orient Lines. He was formerly deputy chairman of PwC Singapore.
Quek replaces Lucien Wong, chairman and senior partner to law firm Allen and Gledhill, who stepped down on 28 February.
The board is chaired by Tharman Shanmugaratnam, deputy prime minister and minister for finance.
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