GIC opens doors in Brazil
Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC opened a new office in São Paulo this week, its 10th worldwide, to focus on investment opportunities in Latin America.

Heading the office is Wolfgang Schwerdtle, who has been with GIC for five years and was previously senior vice president at GIC Special Investments, the fund’s private equity arm.

GIC, with AUM estimated at over $200 billion, says it is seeking opportunities in areas such as real estate, healthcare, financial and business services, natural resources and infrastructure.

“Our presence in Brazil will enable our partners to engage early and interact closely with the GIC team, which is very beneficial for complex and sizeable investments,” said GIC chief investment officer Lim Chow-Kiat.

GIC’s other offices are in Beijing, London, Mumbai, New York, San Francisco, Seoul, Shanghai and Tokyo.

This reflects a trend for sovereign funds across Asia to beef up their overseas presence and exposure. Notable recent examples include Malaysia’s Khazanah Nasional setting up its first two offices outside Asia, in Istanbul and San Francisco; China’s State Administration of Foreign Exchange opening an office in New York earlier this year; Korea’s National Pension Service mulling opening Hong Kong and Shanghai branches; and Singapore’s Temasek eyeing its first US presence.

New appointments to HK SFC committees
Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission has named five new members to its products advisory committee.

They are Ding Chen, CEO and CIO at CSOP Asset Management; Jed Laskowitz, Asia-Pacific CEO at JP Morgan Asset Management; Stuart Leckie, chairman of Stirling Finance and founding chairman of the Hong Kong Retirement Schemes Association; Vera Tam, chief research and trade practices officer at Hong Kong’s Consumer Council; and Wong Man Yee, head of custody at Bank of China (Hong Kong).

Placement agent Monument Group opens Asian branches
Monument Group, a US-based alternative investments fund placement agent, has launched an office in Tokyo, marking its second office in Asia.

This follows the opening of its first Asian office in Hong Kong in January. Local regulatory approval was granted to the Japan outpost last month. 

Both offices will be overseen by Robert Mast, a managing director of Monument. He has been with the firm since 1996 based in its Boston headquarters.

Monument says its expansion to the region is attributable to the growing importance of Asian investors, which are increasingly allocating to alternatives. It is also seeing a rise in demand from overseas investors for exposure to Asian funds.

The Tokyo office has a full-time representative, which Monument declined to name, while the firm is recruiting staff for its Hong Kong operation.

The firm also has an operation in London, which opened in 2005 and serves the European market.

HK private banking association names MD
The Hong Kong-based Private Wealth Management Association (PWMA) has appointed James Hong as managing director to succeed Nancy Cheung.

Hong was most recently Hong Kong private banking head at Credit Suisse, but retired from the role two years ago. Prior to that, he was chairman of Greater China and Asia head of alternative investment and quantitative investments at UBS Global Asset Management.

The PWMA is a voluntary association with 26 private banking members. It aims to help build Hong Kong as a private wealth management hub, providing a channel for the industry to maintain dialogue with governments, regulators, trade bodies and non-governmental organisations.

Neuberger Berman names new multi-asset CIO
US-based fund house Neuberger Berman has named Erik Knutzen as global multi-asset class CIO based in New York. He will start in early May, reporting to Joseph Amato, president and CIO, and Brad Tank, CIO for fixed income.

The newly created role will see Knutzen drive the asset allocation process at a firm-wide level and create multi-asset class solutions, while joining in portfolio management on certain mandates.

A spokesman did not specify specific areas of relevance Knutzen’s role for Asia, apart from to say: “As his responsibilities are global and Neuberger Berman’s opportunities in Asia are growing, we anticipate Erik will be in Asia periodically.”

Neuberger’s regional headquarters are in Hong Kong and Tokyo, and it also has offices in Melbourne, Seoul, Shanghai, Singapore and Taipei.

“Once he joins the firm, Erik will assess the resources available at Neuberger Berman and determine what additional resources, if any, he may need in his new role,” the spokesman adds.

Knutzen joins from Boston-based investment consulting firm NEPC where he has served as CIO since 2008.

Neuberger managed $242 billion in assets as of end-2013 across equities, fixed income and alternatives strategies globally. AsianInvestor singled the firm out in the February issue of the magazine as having been particularly successful post-2008, as a relative newcomer to the region.

UBS names Japan head of client trading
UBS has named Paul Redbourn as head of client trading and execution in Japan in addition to his role as Asia-Pacific head of facilitation and quantitative trading. 

Hugh Kerridge will take over as head of Asia ex-Japan facilitation, and Stuart Currey will lead Asia ex-Japan quant trading.

Redbourn will shortly relocate to Tokyo from Hong Kong and report to Laurent Combalot, Asia-Pacific head of client trading and execution, and to Hiroshi Udagawa and Hirofumi Takaku, who jointly head Japanese equities.

In addition, Luke Clayton has joined UBS in Tokyo as a managing director and senior relationship manager for Japanese equities. He was most recently head of Japanese and international equity distribution at Goldman Sachs, responsible for global distribution of Japanese, Asian and US cash products.

Clayton will work closely with Genichiro Misumi in Japan and other senior relationship managers in other regions. 

QFC names new deputy CEO
The Qatar Financial Centre Authority has promoted Yousef Mohammed Al-Jaida, formerly chief strategic development officer, to deputy CEO.

Before joining the QFC Authority, he was head of indirect investment at the Qatar General Retirement and Pension Authority, where he oversaw hedge fund, private equity, real estate, fixed income and equity portfolio investments.

HKEx shuffles senior clearing executives
Hong Kong Exchanges & Clearing (HKEx) has appointed Calvin Tai as head of global clearing. He succeeds Gerald Greiner, who is now advisory chairman for group clearing and regulatory affairs and chief compliance officer (CCO).

Tai was previously co-head of equities, fixed income and currency. HKEx will announce a replacement in due course. Tai reports to CEO Charles Li.

Greiner has been with HKEx since 1998, holding various positions, such as chief operating officer and head of the exchange division. He reports to chief regulatory officer David Graham and to Li.

Prior to joining the exchange, he worked at Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission and the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

Meanwhile, Trevor Spanner has been named as London-based head of global clearing for Europe to run the new clearing operations out of the UK.

The appointment adds to his role as CEO of London Metal Exchange Clear, the new clearing house of LME, due to launch in September. LME was bought by HKEx in 2012 for $2.2 billion.

Withers add to Asian family practice
UK law firm Withers has added Samantha Gershon as a consultant to its Asian family practice in Hong Kong to replace Stacey Devoy, who has left the firm.

Gershon joins from Robertsons, where she was a partner working on commercial litigation, public and administrative law.

During her tenure at Robertsons, Samantha advised on multi-jurisdictional corporate issues, such as satellite litigation arising from Hong Kong matrimonial proceedings.

Withers will also add another family law specialist from a London family law firm at the end of April, but declined to provide the name.

The Asian family practice comprises 14 members, after making five more hires in October.