Blackstone shutters advisory business
The former head of Blackstone Advisory Partners in Asia, Anthony Steains, has left with his team to set up his own business after the US private equity firm moved to close down the unit.

Steains became chairman and chief executive officer of start-up M&A advisory business Comprador on April 8, based in Hong Kong.

A spokesman for Blackstone told AsianInvestor it had transferred the whole of the Blackstone Advisory Partners Asia’s team to the newly created firm on the same day.

“We are exiting our advisory business and making it independent, both to eliminate conflicts and to let it compete for business from other asset managers which might otherwise be reluctant to give business to a competitor."

Steains has previously worked for Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and ING Barings before assuming his role as head of Blackstone Advisory Partners Asia in 2008.

Asked if there were other staff implications in Asia, the company spokesperson said the arrangement was an isolated transaction unrelated to their regional plans.

Senior director quits Bank of Singapore
Bank of Singapore's John Ng resigned as managing director and head of research and product marketing, it was confirmed this week.

Ng had been with Bank of Singapore since September 2007. He was instrumental in building and managing the OCBC-owned private bank’s in-house research group, covering equities and fixed income, mutual funds, hedge funds and private equity due diligence and selection.

In the early days, he also took responsibility for much of the firm’s marketing direction. Prior to joining Bank of Singapore, Ng had been senior funds analyst and portfolio manager at Fortis Investments, initially in the Netherlands but latterly in Singapore.

The bank's global head of products, Marc Van De Walle, told AsianInvestor, “[Ng] has tendered his resignation. We thank him for his contribution in helping to build Bank of Singapore's research capabilities over the past few years and wish him the very best.”

Bank of Singapore could not confirm if a replacement for Ng was being sought. But Van De Walle said: “Like any prudent organisation, we are prepared for staff movement.”

He added the bank had already restructured its products division in February 2015 to support its front-office teams and clients. The new structure revolves around four pillars: investment strategy and research; managed products; treasury and trading; and wealth planning and trusts.

Barings hires sales head
Baring Asset Management has hired Edmund Chong from HSBC Global Asset Management as head of sales, client service and business development in Asia ex-Japan.

Based in Hong Kong, Chong will lead the mutual fund distribution business at Barings in the region. His immediate focus will be the launch of the Barings Hong Kong-domiciled fund range.

He reports to Gerry Ng, chief executive for Asia ex-Japan at Baring Asset Management. Chong started at the firm on April 1.

He comes in to replace Marco Tang, who left Barings in April 2014 to join US asset manager Neuberger Berman the following month as head of retail sales for China and Hong Kong, as reported.

Chong joins Barings from HSBC Global Asset Management, where he was head of sales for wholesale business. He joined HSBC GAM in May 2010.

His prior experience includes senior roles at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, SG Asset Management and Franklin Templeton. Before that, Chong was a research manager at Harris Fraser International.

Templeton names Apac head of consultant relations
US fund house Franklin Templeton has hired Stephanie Hukins from Hermes Investment Management as director of consultant relations for Asia Pacific.

Based in Sydney, she will focus on managing the firm’s relationships with consultants in the region. Hukins replaces Christina Manonian, who has relocated to the firm's headquarters in San Mateo.

Hukins reports to London-based Matt Philpott, director of the firm's consultant and investment research group.

She has more than 12 years' industry experience and joins from Hermes, where she was responsible for institutional sales and relationship management. She previously held roles at Fortis Investments in Australia and F&C Investments in the UK.

Bordier & Cie takes on CIO in Singapore
Swiss private bank Bordier & Cie has appointed Bryan Goh from DBS Private Bank in a newly created role as its Singapore-based chief investment officer, effective from the beginning of May.

Previously the function was carried out by an investment committee including the chief executive officer. Goh joins from DBS Private Bank, where he worked as head of alternatives from January 2011 to March 2015.

A spokesman for DBS could not confirm whether or not it had hired a replacement for Goh by press time. But he said the team had been expanding with hires such as Mischa Bitton and Paul Zhuang, who both report to Kelvin Tan, head of funds at DBS Private Bank.

According to their LinkedIn profiles, Bitton joined from Societe Generale Private Bank in October 2014, when the French bank was acquired by DBS, while Zhuang moved from DBS bank to the private banking arm this March. Bitton is a fund product specialist and Zhuang is vice-president of mutual fund selection. 

Prior to joining DBS, Goh was a founding partner and head of due diligence at London-based alternatives advisory and placement firm First Avenue Partners (September 2006 to November 2010).

Between February 2004 and June 2006 he was a manager of hedge fund investments at Oaks Family Office and worked for Arab Bank in London and Singapore between December 1994 and February 2004.

HKMA replaces research director
The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has named Lillian Cheung as executive director of research with effect from April 1.

Cheung will also become director of the Hong Kong Institute for Monetary Research (HKIMR). She will be responsible for directing the activities of the research department at HKMA and HKIMR.

She will also represent the HKMA in regional and international conferences, meetings and seminars, and establish research networks with other central banks and international organisations.

She succeeds Dong He, who left in October 2014 and moved to the International Monetary Fund. Cheung reports to Peter Pang, the HKMA’s deputy chief executive.

Cheung was previously division head at HKMA’s economic research division in charge of research relating to macroeconomic and financial stability issues. She joined HKMA as a manager at the economic research division in 1998.

After leaving HKMA in 2001, Cheung rejoined the organisation as senior manager at the economic research division in 2005 before she became head of it in 2009.

BNPP shakes up WM team, names Malaysia CEO
The wealth management arm of BNP Paribas has made a series of senior appointments to its Singapore-based team, effective from April 1.

Ernest Leung has been appointed chief executive for wealth management Singapore. He will retain his position as chief operating officer for BNPP WM Asia Pacific.

Leung reports to Mignonne Cheng, chairman and CEO for BNPP WM Asia Pacific, and Pierre Veyres, regional head for Southeast Asia and CEO of BNPP Singapore.

He has been at BNPP since 2006, when he joined as China COO for BNPP Personal Finance. He was later promoted to CEO of the same business.

Leung replaces Arnaud Tellier, who has been named head of investment services for Asia Pacific, reporting to Cheng and Leung, as well as Olivier Maugarny, global head of investment services. Leung had served as CEO of WM Singapore since September 2013.

Tellier joined BNP Paribas in 1989 and has held a number of senior positions at the firm in London, Paris and Madrid. He was the CEO and country head for Greece in 2006-2010 and head of corporate and investment banking for Turkey since 2010.

Further, Stephanie Lair was named head of Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia at BNP Paribas WM, and will be in charge of business development. She was most recently head of investment services for Asia Pacific. She succeeds Serge Forti, who retired, and reports to Cheng and Leung.

In Malaysia, BNP Paribas named Philippe Aroyo as country head and chief executive officer, with effect from April 8. He takes over from Krishna Chetti, who will take on an as yet unspecified role.

Prior to this, Aroyo was country head for BNP Paribas in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from 2008. He has been with the group for 26 years, first joining at head office in Paris as a senior economist. He held senior positions in India and Senegal before being named country head for Kuwait in 2002. Aroyo reports to Pierre Veyres, regional head of southeast Asia and CEO of BNPP Singapore.

Grosvenor appoints new APAC chief
Property developer Grosvenor has appointed Hong Kong-based Ben Cha as chief executive of its Asia-Pacific operation, effective on April 1.

Cha succeeded Nicholas Loup, who  left the company. He has assumed overall strategic responsibility for Grosvenor Asia Pacific’s regional business operations.

He joined Grosvenor Asia Pacific as managing director on September 29 last year. Cha was previously at UBS Global Asset Management between 2013-14 as managing director, head of global real estate for Greater China and co-CEO of UBS/Gemdale, a UBS joint-venture real estate private equity platform in China.  

Before UBS he was with HKR International, a Hong Kong-based developer, between 2002-2013, latterly as executive director and head of its Asia-Pacific business unit.

A Grosvenor spokesperson said Cha’s previous managing director role was an interim position created to cover a planned handover period between Cha and Loup. As a result there would be no replacement for the managing director role.

In January the real estate firm and asset manager Chelsfield announced it had appointed Loup to its board of directors. Loup established Grosvenor’s Asian business in Hong Kong in 1994; operations have since expanded to Tokyo and Shanghai. Loup left Grosvenor this March.

Apex hires business development director
Fund administrator Apex Fund Services has hired Ashmita Chhabra as managing director of business development for Asia Pacific.

Singapore-based Chhabra started in the newly created role on March 23, and has been tasked with spearheading business growth and working with Apex’s various country heads. Chhabra reports to Hong Kong-based Srikumar T.E., managing director for Asia Pacific.

Chhabra was previously head of global sales for Eurekahedge, a specialist alternatives research firm which has been a subsidiary of Mizuho Bank since 2011.

She was at the firm in Singapore for more than 10 years and left in February this year. She joined Eurekahedge in January 2005 as senior business development manager before being promoted to vice-president for institutional sales in January 2007. She became head of global sales in January 2010.

White & Case poaches from rival
Law firm White & Case hired Kim Kyungseok and Peggy Wang from rival Linklaters in new roles as M&A partners based in Hong Kong with a focus on private equity.

Kim joined on March 30, while Wang started on April 2. A spokeswoman for White & Case said Kim and Wang were new hires to support the firm’s ambition to build a leading pan-Asian private equity practice and to expand its M&A/corporate business.

SFC announces committee appointments
Hong Kong’s securities regulator SFC announced a number of member changes to its committees.

With effect from April 1, the Securities and Futures Commission welcomed Larry Kwok and Chun Kong Lau as new members to the committee on real estate investment trusts. The outgoing members were Milton Cheng, Joseph Cheng, Catherine Leung, and Tsan Wing Pang.

Meanwhile its HKEC listing committee appointed Philip Tye as a new member, as Terence Keyes left. And its takeovers and mergers panel and the takeovers appeal committee welcomed both David Fu and Yoo Kyung Park, while Joseph Lo and Christopher Swift left both committees.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Axa's Asia CIO makes move to AllianceBernstein

UBP eyes Asia partnership after Coutts deal