KKR opens Singapore office
US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts (KKR) has set up an office in Singapore, its seventh in Asia Pacific.

It will serve as a regional hub for its investment in Southeast Asia. KKR has since 2005 invested more than $1 billion in the region, the group’s second largest investment destination in Asia after China.

Lu Ming, regional leader of Southeast Asia, will initially run the Singapore office out of Hong Kong. He has been with the firm since 2006. Two directors, Kabir Mathur and Ridha Wirakusumah, have transferred to Singapore from the Hong Kong office.

The firm is expected to make additional hires depending on business growth, although a spokesman says no concrete numbers are planned.

KKR’s global AUM was $61.5 billion as of June 30, and its other Asian offices are in Beijing, Mumbai, Seoul, Sydney and Tokyo.

JP Morgan launches direct custody and clearing in HK
JP Morgan Worldwide Securities Services has continued the global rollout of its direct custody and clearing (DCC) platform, going live in Hong Kong and hiring Michael Drumgoole as Asia-Pacific head of the business.

The firm’s DCC network already includes Australia, Brazil, India, Ireland, New Zealand, Russia, Taiwan, the UK and the US.

Drumgoole joins JP Morgan from SetClear, where he spent five years as deputy chief operating officer leading the delivery of outsourcing capabilities for international broker-dealers. He reports to Rowena Romulo, global head of direct custody and clearing.

Prior to SetClear, Drumgoole spent 19 years with Citi, where he was most recently product development head for Asia. His background includes roles across operations, technology and implementation in new markets.

JP Morgan WSS has $18.2 trillion in assets under custody and $7.1 trillion in assets under administration.

Perpetual finalises management team amid restructure
Australian firm Perpetual Investments has named Michael Gordon as group executive. He is expected to take up the role early next year, and his appointment comes as the group seeks to simplify its corporate structure. In the meantime, Richard Brandweiner will serve as acting group executive.

This follows Geoff Lloyd’s promotion to CEO in February from group executive for private wealth and retail distribution, after Chris Ryan left, reportedly after a board-level dispute about the firm's restructuring programme. (Ryan recently joined index provider MSCI, as first reported by AsianInvestor.)

Based in Sydney, Gordon is still working at BNP Paribas Investment Partners in London as chief investment officer for equities. Christian Dargnat, CIO of BNP Paribas Asset Management based in Paris, will take up Gordon's duties in the interim.

Prior to joining BNPP IP, Gordon was at Fidelity Investments International and Schroder Investment Management.

Other recent appointments include Mark Smith as group executive for the group’s wealth-management arm at Perpetual Private; Rebecca Nash as group executive of people and culture; and Gillian Larkins as group executive of the transformation office.

First State rebuilds Asia property securities team
Fund manager First State Investments announced the appointment of two former staff members following the re-hire of Stephen Hayes in January as head of property securities, as reported.

Tuan Pham is named senior portfolio manager, specialising in Asian property securities; he was previously head of Asia at Perennial.

Joseph Daguio becomes investment analyst for the Asia-Pacific region, having previously been analysing Australian and European property equities.

The Sydney-based trio worked together previously at FSI, but left in 2006 to join rival Perennial Real Estate Investments, only to rejoin First State this year.

Hayes left Perennial in January and has since been replaced by David Kivell, head of real estate investment.

Pham and Daguio are understood to have resigned from their Perennial positions last week and will start at FSI in mid-November. They are expected to be replaced, says a spokeswoman.

Barclays poaches EFG exec for wealth role
The private banking arm of Barclays has hired Adeline Chien as a managing director to cover ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) in Hong Kong from Swiss firm EFG Bank.

Chien has already started her new job, which Barclays says is a newly created position. She reports to Rickie Chan, market head of Hong Kong, who joined the UK bank in August after 16 years at Goldman Sachs.

At EFG, Chien led a team responsible for servicing clients in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan. She has also worked at several other financial institutions serving UHNWIs, including Goldman Sachs and UBS.

Under the leadership of Pakorn Boonya-kurkul, who joined Barclays as North Asia head of wealth management in May 2011, the bank says it has increased its North Asia teams.

Boonya-kurkul has outlined plans to double Greater China assets under management within three years, in line with the firm’s ambitious growth agenda to double AUM in Asia to over $50 billion by 2014.

Axa IM hires emerging Asia economist
France’s Axa Investment Managers announced the appointment of Sun Qi, who fills a newly created role as emerging Asia economist.

Sun’s coverage includes conducting economic research and market analysis on 10 emerging Asia markets, including China, India and Korea. Reporting to Franz Wenzel, he forms part of the research and strategy team headed by Eric Chaney, chief economist for Axa.

He was most recently an economist at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where he focused on the Chinese economy and financial reform.

Standard Chartered names regional transaction head
Standard Chartered announced the appointment of Sridhar Kanthadai as head of transaction banking for Northeast Asia.

Based in Hong Kong, his responsibilities cover cash management, trade finance, securities and renminbi settlement services. The UK bank did not respond by press time to queries about who previously held the post.

Kanthadai reports to Jiten Arora and Darcy Lai, global head of sales for transaction banking and regional head of origination and client coverage for Northeast Asia, respectively.

Kanthadai joins from Citi, where he was most recently Asia-Pacific head of treasury and trade solutions.

Ravi Saxena has been promoted to this post at Citi from his previous role as regional head of trade, and is himself replace by Sanjay Tandon.

Other moves reported this week on AsianInvestor:

US ETF firm plans Hong Kong presence

Phil Tye exits DragonBack after Double Haven deal

Schroders snares sales head from State Street

Robert Miller’s Search Group sells Squadron Capital

Wells Fargo responds to rise of credit funds