Prupim expands property arm in Asia
UK-based Prudential Property Investment Management (Prupim) announced four newly created roles and two office openings as it seeks to extend its presence in Asia.

The hires in Singapore are James MacKinnon as head of asset management, from AIG Global Real Estate Asia, and Lyndon Lim as associate director, from Lend Lease Retail.

The group established new operations in Tokyo this month and in Seoul in October. They are staffed by Katsuhiro Ishikawa from Mori Building, now managing director for Tokyo, and Sanghyuk Lee, associate director for Prudential Property Investment Management Korea.

The new joiners started, or are set to start, between August and December. “These new roles are in response to the management restructure of our Asia property fund, which will take effect from January 2013,” Singapore CEO Scott Girard tells AsianInvestor.

The Asia property fund has been jointly managed by Prudential and LaSalle IM for the past five years, although from next year it will be managed solely by Prudential. Prudential says it was felt the fund would be better run in-house.

“We see opportunities to build the business steadily and extend our reach across Asia,” adds Girard. “Real estate is a local market business and it is imperative that we have local market presence across the region.”

Referring to its investments, Girard says that in line with the present macro-economic environment, the group prefers defensive assets such as logistics and non-discretionary retail, which have bond-type qualities and sustainable cash flows.

“We are proponents of the continuation of the structural change taking place in the Japanese logistics sector, although we believe that current pricing fully reflects this structural change,” says Girard.

Prupim, whose investors include pension funds, insurance companies and other Asian institutional investors, had $1.7 billion in AUM as at the end of September.

Chi-X chief executive to step down next year
Alternative trading venue Chi-X Australia has begun the search for a new CEO after announcing that incumbent Peter Fowler would step down early next year.

Fowler will, however, continue in his role as director on the board of Chi-X Australia, a subsidiary of alternative trading venue operator Chi-X Global Holdings.

It comes shortly after the exchange marked its first year of operations this month, having amassed trading turnover of more than $17 billion during that time. It has 27 trading participants and recorded a record 12.4% market share of publically traded equities on November 22.

It is understood that Fowler is planning to retire after a 40-year career in finance. “He effectively came out of retirement in 2008 when he started at Chi-X,” says a source. “He was always very clear on this that once it was successfully up and running he would effectively step down from day-to-day [management].”

Chi-X notes that it has already begun a wide-ranging search for a successor. A spokesman says it is looking for “somebody who is passionate, well-qualified and who knows the Australian participants and global alternative markets”.

Perpetual Private finalises senior reshuffle
Wealth management advisory firm Perpetual Private confirmed that Mark Smith has officially taken up the position of group executive as part of a senior reshuffle.

Smith’s appointment became effective this week but was actually announced in May, as reported. He has only taken up the role now due to contractual commitments of his gardening leave from previous employer BT Financial Group.

During the interim, Nick Langton served as acting group executive, although he will now revert to his role as general manager of private client advice.

Earlier this year AsianInvestor revealed that Chris Ryan had stepped down as Perpetual CEO over a strategy disagreement after less than a year in the role.

The firm says it is implementing a new strategic blueprint for the company, featuring cost reductions and a revised sales and distribution focus. This includes exiting non-core businesses such as its mortgage lending arm, which resulted in 1,050 redundancies.

SFC launches investor education centre
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) named non-executive director Leonard Cheng as chairman of its newly launched investor education centre.

The centre is designed to assist investors in understanding financial products and markets to ensure they make informed investment decisions that suit their needs.

The strategy to promote investor education is likely to include the use of mass media campaigns, outreach programs for different sectors of the community and its current up-and-running website.

“While investor education is important for promoting informed investors, it cannot prevent every poor investment decision from being made, nor can it prevent market fluctuations, nor can it prevent misconduct by individual services providers and some market participants,” says Cheng.

“Investor education is a complement to, not a substitute for, strong and effective financial services regulation, enforcement and dispute resolution.”

Franklin Templeton hires Australia retail team
Investment manager Franklin Templeton announced the appointment of Matthew Hattersley as northern region key account manager for its Australia retail business.

Sydney-based Hattersley started on November 12 and has responsibility for national key accounts and dealer group relationships in New South Wales, Australia Capital Territory and Queensland.

This is a new position and forms part of six hires the group has made as it looks to expand its advisory services business targeting the Australian retail and family office segments.

“The Australian funds management market is approximately A$1.4 trillion and is projected to grow to around A$3.4 trillion by 2021, underpinned by our compulsory superannuation system,” a firm’s representative tells AsianInvestor.

Withers expands tax practice
Law firm Withers announced it had relocated partner Erik Wallace as it expands its US tax and wealth planning practice.

Having started work in the Hong Kong office in the third quarter, Wallace will focus on practices including international tax, probate, trust and estate planning, with a focus on US individuals and property. He had been based in London, having joined the firm in 2003.

Wallace says his target clients are US citizens and green card holders in Asia. “[US persons] in Asia that are having to comply with worldwide taxation are all recognising the need to act ahead of the fiscal cliff before the estate and gift tax exemption expires, ahead of Fatca implementation, to plan properly around investing in US real estate while prices are depressed,” he tells AsianInvestor.

Northern Trust makes Australia tax hire
Service provider Northern Trust has bought in Zaf Kardaras as tax manager for Australia and New Zealand.

Based in Melbourne, her coverage includes financial and tax reporting for clients in the funds management and superannuation industries.

The group has been making other appointments, including Chris Thomson from JP Morgan, with responsibility to drive business development. It is also looking to add to its Melbourne alternatives team as allocations to derivatives and private equity rise.

Other people moves reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Kianga Capital sets up in Hong Kong