LEGG MASON’S CHINA INSTO HEAD LEAVES

Edwina Ho, formerly head of institutional business for China and Hong Kong at Legg Mason Asset Management, has left the US asset manager.

She had started at the firm in April 2016, according to her regulatory licences, which ended on May 3 this year.

A spokesman for Legg Mason confirmed the departure but declined to provide any further details.

Ho had previously worked with NN Investment Partners, Macquarie Funds Management, Manulife Asset Management and LGT Capital Partners.

AsianInvestor could not ascertain Ho’s next move but her departure comes amid soaring demand among fund houses for China talent to staff their mainland operations.

JACK LIN DISCUSSES NEW MSCI ROLE

When funds industry veteran Jack Lin got the call from MSCI to join the index provider as head of Asia-Pacific client coverage, he told AsianInvestor, “it was the opportunity of a lifetime that I felt I had to pursue”.

Based in Hong Kong, Lin started on May 11 and reports to Laurent Seyer, chief operating officer and chief client officer at MSCI. The appointment was the culmination of a long search, after his predecessor Chris Ryan left early last year to set up an investment consultancy.

Lin has spent most of his 20-year-plus career working at asset management firms, most recently at French firm Amundi, and the new role will see his former peers become his clients. He will still cover institutional investors as well. Both groups are frequent users of MSCI products, whether for its indices or its analytics.

Lin said his experience of working in China – notably setting up and running Franklin Templeton’s mainland joint venture – would prove particularly useful, given MSCI’s imminent inclusion of A-shares in its emerging market benchmarks.

Asked about current areas of focus for asset owners other than China, Lin said: “I see great opportunities for smart beta and factor investing and also analytics, as asset owners become more sophisticated.”

Institutional investors are seeking greater transparency around performance attribution and increasingly want to be sure they are not overpaying for returns they can obtain cheaply from passively managed strategies. Index and analytics providers are benefiting from this trend.

Another trend MSCI is well able to exploit is the growing interest in environmental, social and governance (ESG)-type investment, Lin said. “Many asset owners are studying [ESG factors] and some are starting to implement them.”

Lin was head of South Asia at Amundi, which last year merged with Pioneer Investments, his former employer, where he had served as the head of Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. The newly combined group has made big cuts to its investment and operational teams but retains a substantial presence in the region.

Eric Bramoullé, head of retail for Asia ex-Japan and deputy CEO for Singapore, has been promoted to replace Lin, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor by email.

Before joining Amundi, Lin worked at US fund house Janus Capital, now Janus Henderson Investors after its own merger with Henderson Global Investors. Before that he served as CEO of Franklin Templeton Sealand Fund Management.

KKR LURES CLSA'S PATTAR AS NEW PROPERTY HEAD

KKR has poached John Pattar, the former chief executive of CLSA Real Estate, as head of its Asia-Pacific real estate investment business.

Pattar joins the US private equity giant in Hong Kong, but a KKR spokesman declined to provide the date when he started.

Pattar is the first member (the most senior title at KKR) in the real estate business in Asia. Previously the business was overseen by Bryan Southergill, a managing director who joined KKR in 2013 and now reports to Pattar.

The hire is an indication of the growth of the platform, the spokesman said.

Pattar resigned from CLSA this week, a company spokeswoman said. CLSA management is understood now to be assessing options for his replacement.

Pattar’s move comes at a time of growing interest in real estate from global institutional investors, many of which are increasing their exposure to property in the region. 

A survey in January by asset manager BlackRock found that 42% of 224 of its institutional clients globally, representing $7.4 trillion in assets, planned to increase their allocation to deals in the private property sector in 2018 in the face of low interest rates.

In addition to scouting the region for attractive assets, Pattar will help Asian investors access real estate opportunities globally.

Pattar had joined CLSA in 2004 and most recently oversaw the operations of Fudo Capital, a collection of property funds focused on Asia Pacific.

FORMER WILLIS TOWERS WATSON RESEARCH HEAD JOINS OREANA

Isaac Poole has joined Oreana Financial Services as chief investment officer, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Poole was previously Willis Towers Watson's (WTW) head of capital markets research in Asia-Pacific. 

At WTW, he contributed to asset allocation decisions, macro-economic analysis and investment research related to institutions including major sovereign wealth funds, government agencies and pension funds.

Poole told AsianInvestor he left WTW in April and joined Oreana in early May. He replaces Norman Chan, who left Oreana in April.

WTW did not respond to queries from AsianInvestor. AsianInvestor could not ascertain Chan's next move.

VALUE PARTNERS’ FUND MANAGER DEPARTS

Lim Yee Choon, a fixed income fund manager at Value Partners, left the firm in May to pursue personal interests, AsianInvestor understands.

Value Partners declined to comment on whether it is seeking his replacement and who is looking after his duties after his departure.

AsianInvestor could not ascertain Lim’s next move in his career.

PICTET AM APPOINTS NEW HEAD OF EM DEBT

Swiss fund house Pictet Asset Management has named Mary-Thérèse Barton as head of emerging market debt.

Barton is based in London, and she reports to fixed income chief investment officer Raymond Sagayam, a Pictet AM spokeswoman said. She took up her duties on May 1.

Barton replaces Simon Lue-Fong, who has resigned from Pictet AM, the spokeswoman added.

Most recently, Barton was a senior investment manager at Pictet AM, said the spokeswoman.

JAPAN POST BANK DIRECTOR TO JOIN SOFTBANK BOARD

Japan Post Bank representative executive officer Katsunori Sago is set to join SoftBank Group’s board of directors.

Sago, who joined JPB as head of asset management in 2015, was nominated as a board candidate by SoftBank on April 26, and the position is due to be confirmed at the 38th annual general meeting of shareholders on June 20.

He is scheduled to retire from JPB at the close of the board of directors meeting in mid-June. He will also retire from his post as director.

Sago was responsible for building out JPB’s alternative investments team as the bank shifted away from Japanese government bonds and towards alternative assets, a transition that contributed to JPB winning the 2017 AsianInvestor institutional excellence award for Japan.

JPB did not respond to AsianInvestor queries on whether an replacement has been announced, or who is covering his former duties in the interim.

JP MORGAN APPOINTS REAL ESTATE EXPERT FOR AUSTRALIA, NZ

JP Morgan Asset Management  has appointed James Santi as executive director and acquisitions officer for Australia and New Zealand in its Asia-Pacific real estate team.

Having started in mid-April, he reports to Daniel McDonald, head of Australia and New Zealand in the Asia-Pacific real estate team, which has more than 50 real estate professionals operating from six offices in the region. Both Santi and McDonald are based in Sydney.

In this newly created role, Santi leads the origination, underwriting, due diligence and transaction execution of real estate acquisitions in Australia and New Zealand. Existing team members in Australia and Hong Kong looked after the duties before he joined the team, a spokeswoman at JP Morgan said.

Santi was previously a senior director for industrial and logistics in the capital markets team at CBRE, a position he left in late March.

The company has not directly replaced him in that role but has instead hired Michael Fenton to a more senior role as head of Australian industrial and logistics for capital markets practice, a spokeswoman for CBRE said.

He will commence the Sydney-based role in August, and will report to Ray Pittman, CBRE's Pacific president and CEO, she said.

MAXCAP NAMES INVESTMENT DIRECTOR FOR AUSTRALIA

MaxCap Group, a commercial real estate debt manager, has appointed Eddie Law as Sydney-based investment director.

He started the new role on May 15 and reports to Brae Sokolski, Melbourne-based chief investment officer. He is responsible for growing market penetration in each state in Australia and senior relationship management with private and institutional investor clients, according to the company.

A MaxCap spokesman did not directly address AsianInvestor’s query about whether the role was newly created and who looked after the duties previously.

Law was most recently head of institutional property group at ANZ Bank and his last day was March 23, an ANZ spokesman said.

Andrew Hector is his replacement. He has been the head of property and health since early April and reports to Graham Turley, managing director of institutional business for Australia and Papua New Guinea. 

Hector's appointment came after a broader simplification in company structure, so he holds a different title to Law, the spokesman said.

EY NAMES APAC FINANCIAL SERVICES ADVISORY LEADER

UK professional services and consultancy firm EY has appointed Aaron Perryman as Asia-Pacific financial services advisory leader.

Singapore-based Perryman assists global banking, capital markets, and insurance clients, according to the EY website.

He takes over from Steven Lee, who has taken on a new role as Asia-Pacific financial services regional accounts leader, an EY spokesman said.

Prior to the appointment, Perryman was financial services Asean advisory leader.

EY declined to comment on who Perryman reports to, as well as his exact starting date. It declined to give any details on who Lee replaced in his new role.

ORRICK APPOINTS PE PARTNER IN BEIJING

Global law firm Orrick has appointed Jinsong Zhang as partner for its mergers and acquisitions and private equity practice, effective May 16.

Zhang joins from King & Wood Mallesons, where he was a partner resident in New York.

Zhang will split his time between Orrick’s Beijing and New York offices, a statement from the firm said.

He previously served as general counsel and chief compliance officer of CITIC Securities USA, a broker-dealer firm registered with US regulators that serves as the US arm of China’s largest full-service investment bank. 

He is the 17th partner to join Orrick’s global M&A practice since 2016 and the third in China in the past year, representing what Orrick said was an expansion of its team.

Earlier this year, Orrick hired cross-border M&A partners Paul Doris, from Watson Farley & Williams, in London, and David Schwartz, from Hughes Hubbard & Reed, in New York.

Orrick focuses on the technology, energy and infrastructure and finance sectors.