New Asia-Pacific head of iShares for BlackRock
BlackRock announced it had promoted Jane Leung to head its iShares business for Asia-Pacific, based in Hong Kong.

She is tasked with driving the regional growth strategy and business operations of iShares, the ETF arm that formed part of BlackRock's 2009 acquisition of Barclays Global Investors.

She succeeds Nick Good, who this February was reassigned to a newly created role as head of strategy and business development for Asia-Pacific, in news broken by AsianInvestor. He kept his iShares responsibility in the interim.

Leung reports to Asia-Pacific chairman Mark McCombe and global head of iShares Mark Wiedman. Currently she serves as head of BlackRock’s Asia Pacific index equity team, where she was responsible for the team’s portfolio management activities. Prior to that she was senior director of product for iShares Asia ex-Japan.

iShares is the second biggest exchange-traded products provider in Asia Pacific (ex-Japan) by AUM with $8.6 billion, behind only State Street Global Advisors with $12.9 billion. However, it is the largest worldwide with $670.4 billion.

Julius Baer set to add China team from Credit Suisse
Swiss private bank Julius Baer is poised to announce the hire of Andrew Tung and a team of relationship managers from Credit Suisse’s China desk, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Tung, who was a managing director and team leader at Credit Suisse, will be joined at Julius Baer by relationship managers Mabel Ng, Mina Yiu and Candy Wong.

These are the first hires since Kaven Leung joined Julius Baer as regional deputy CEO and North Asia CEO in February. All the joiners are former colleagues of Leung.

Further, it is understood another old colleague of Leung is also set to join Julius Baer, although AsianInvestor could not confirm information by press time.

Earlier this year Julius Baer hired a team of eight from Sarasin to focus on Greater China, led by Elina So. It comes after Julius Baer failed in its bid to acquire Rabobank’s majority shareholding in Sarasin, a stake eventually bought by Brazil-based Safra Group.

Harel promoted to regional family office role at UBS
UBS announced that Daniel Harel would start on July 2 as head of its global family office (GFO) for Southeast Asia, having been promoted from Southeast Asia head of ultra-high-net-worth clients.

He has spent 18 years in Asia, 15 of which were with UBS and three with Smith Barney. Most of that time Harel has been an investment banker, before switching to wealth management two-and-a-half years ago.

He will be replaced at UBS by Joseph Poon, who joins from Julius Baer, where he was head of the team that arrived as a result of the tie-up late last year with Macquarie Private Wealth Asia. He also helped to develop JP Morgan’s wealth management business in Southeast Asia.

Julius Baer is not thought to have plans to replace Poon, although the bank declined to comment.

UBS’s GFO is designed to cover wealthy private clients who have regular need of services from both the private and investment bank, such as debt and equity capital markets or prime broking.

UBS started the GFO business in Asia around a year ago, but has since realised it needed a more focused approach and a dedicated team. “These are very demanding clients who require service around the clock,” says Harel, “using investment bank services from the West as well as Asia.”

They are most likely to include ultra-high-net-worth individuals and family offices. However, the GFO segments clients more by the level and type of services they require than the amount of investable assets they have, says Harel, who has a mandate to grow his team.

The GFO is for a select group of institutional-type clients whose needs UBS can’t satisfy unless they can regularly access both the private and investment bank platforms. As a result, the unit needs staff with experience of both sides of the business.

Most HNWIs or UNHWIs may not need the full suite of investment and private bank products, Harel notes, so the standard wealth management or UNHWI offering would be sufficient.

He points to demand from a lot of Asian – and European – families that are looking to set up family offices in Singapore, and not simply to book assets in the city state.

Deutsche to set up sec lending desk in Hong Kong
Deutsche Bank announced plans to open an agency securities lending desk in Hong Kong in the second quarter of this year to be led by Greg Chamberlain.

This is designed to better service the needs of clients in local Asian markets. Chamberlain joined recently from Barclays Capital and will report to John Schreyer, the bank’s head of agency securities lending, trading Emea and Asia.

Barings hires head of institutional business for Asia
Baring Asset Management announced it had appointed Eric Poon from UBP as head of institutional business for Asia ex-Japan.

Based in Hong Kong, Poon is responsible for sales and business development across  institutional clients, including sovereign wealth funds, governmental and private institutions.

He replaces Wayne Shum, who was previously regional head of institutional business but left for personal reasons, in news broken last month by AsianInvestor.

Previously Poon worked at UBP Asset Management, where he was regional head of business development for Asia-Pacific. Prior to that he worked as institutional sales director for Greater China at BlackRock and has also held the same role at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

Barings opened its Hong Kong office back in 1976 and manages £4 billion ($6.3 billion) in assets from clients in the region as at March 31.

Northern Trust creates role for Middle East expansion
Northern Trust announced it had appointed Sheldon Woldt to the newly created role of head of the Middle East to lead its expansion in the region.

He will relocate from Chicago to Abu Dhabi and report to Penelope Biggs, head of the firm’s institutional investor group for Emea.

On the ground he will work closely with Michael Slater, head of the Abu Dhabi office, and Kais Abbas, head of investment business development.

Most recently Woldt was head of Northern Trust’s US insurance client business, but has worked at the firm for 30 years across commercial lending, treasury, investment management and global custody.

Northern Trust opened a rep office in Abu Dhabi in 2008. It provides asset servicing, asset management and wealth management to institutional clients in the Middle East, including sovereign wealth funds, family offices, insurance firms and pension funds.

Overall Northern Trust had $716.5 billion in AUM as at March 31 this year.

Harvest Capital Partners sees CEO quit
Harvest Capital Partners announced that its chief executive officer, Rong Ren, had quit, with his role to be taken on by vice-chairman Jiang Wei.

AsianInvestor understands the departure was amicable and that Ren is set to leave at the end of this month.

Harvest Capital Partners is a real estate investment firm incepted in 2005 with a focus on Greater China. It is a subsidiary of conglomerate China Resources Group, and has invested and exited projects in Beijing, Chongqing, Guiyang, Hong Kong and Suzhou.

A spokesperson for the company notes that the firm is entering a new stage of development and is going to be expanding from pure real estate.

Ren has been with the company since its inception, having been responsible for fund formation and structuring, capital raising and overall investment management. He was also on the company’s investment management committee.

Jiang joined China Resources Group in 1988 and has been sitting on the board of directors since 2004. He is also the chairman of China Resources Capital.

Sarasin adds veteran Louie as vice-chair of advisory
Bank Sarasin announced it had hired David Louie from the former Clariden Leu Asset Management as vice-chairman of client advisory, based in Hong Kong.

He has joined as a managing director. Most recently he was head of Clariden Leu Asset Management in Hong Kong, where he has worked since 2009.

Prior to that he was at Deutsche Bank private wealth management as a managing director and group head for Greater China from 1995.

Sarasin, whose majority shareholder is Rabobank, had client assets of SFr96.4 billion as at the end of 2011. Credit Suisse completed its integration of subsidiary Clariden Leu on April 2 this year.

RBS’ McGirr re-joins ABN Amro in Asia debt solutions
ABN Amro has re-hired Brian McGirr from RBS to take on a new role as head of distribution for its Asia debt solutions group, based in Singapore.

McGirr started last month and is responsible for loans, bonds and private placements coverage to a range of investors. He reports to Arnoud Sprangers, head of debt solutions for Asia.

The group focuses on arranging and structuring debt products, DCM issues and provides capital structure advisory services for the bank’s international and Dutch clients.

Previously McGirr was executive director in loan distribution at RBS. Prior to that he worked in ABN Amro’s loan syndication team in London, before moving to Asia in 2008.

ABN Amro is a new entity created from the legal merger of its former Dutch business and Fortis Bank Nederland in 2010. It provides global banking and finance services in energy, commodities and transport, private banking and clearing. It opened a Shanghai rep office earlier this year.

India head for BNPP securities services eyes growth
BNP Paribas Securities Services announced that it had appointed Viraj Kulkarni as its India head, effective last month.

Heading a team of 25 in Mumbai, Kulkarni aims to provide clearing and settlement of securities via wealth managers to qualified foreign investors (QFIs) on the back of regulatory relaxation.

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) announced in January it would allow foreign individuals to invest directly in the domestic stock market provided they meet certain guidelines. Prior to that they could only access the market via mutual fund schemes.

As a foreign bank, BNPP cannot offer custodian services directly to individual retail customers. But its domestic joint venture – Sundaram BNP Paribas Fund Services – already offers local fund accounting and custody services, with a 600-strong team based in Chennai.

Kulkarni says he also expects to see growth from private equity investors seeking India exposure who may require cash and securities management services.

In his new role he replaces Pierre-Alexandre Thome, who was named BNPP’s head of clearing and custody and corporate trust operations in India.

Before joining Kulkarni was at Pivot, a securities services consultancy he founded in Mumbai. Prior to that he headed Citibank Securities Services in India and Switzerland.

He now reports to Lawrence Au, head of BNP Paribas Securities Services Asia Pacific, and Jacques Michel, country manager and chief executive of BNP Paribas India.

Other people news reported in the past week by AsianInvestor:

Nomura hires head of China equity research

SSgA boosts Asia ETF team, plans listings

Coutts hires first Asia product head