BlackRock hires Japan head
Asset manager BlackRock has appointed Yoshiyuki Izawa as its new chairman and country head of Japan. Izawa will join BlackRock on May 18 and replaces Masato Degawa, who is moving to the UK after four years in the role.

Izawa joins BlackRock from Japan Post Bank, a government-owned financial institution, where he was president and CEO from late 2009 to March 2015.

Reporting to BlackRock Asia-Pacific chairman Ryan Stork, Izawa will be responsible for the development and execution of the firm’s long-term onshore business strategy across its Japan operations.

Prior to Japan Post Bank, Izawa worked at Mitsui & Co for 38 years, after joining in 1970. Most recently at Mitsui he was representative director and member of the board, senior executive managing officer and chairman of the investment committee. He also held senior executive roles in Japan and for Mitsui’s operations in its US and Europe regions.

The appointment follows Degawa’s decision to retire as BlackRock president and country head of Japan. He plans to return to London to rejoin his family, who have lived there during his tenure in Tokyo. BlackRock said Degawa would remain at BlackRock until the end of June as part of the leadership transition.

BlackRock had $4.8 trillion in global AUM as of the end of March.

Masatsugu Nagato, former chairman of Citibank Japan, was yesterday named as the new president of Japan Post Bank. Nagato is set to become president on May 11 pending approval at a shareholder meeting on the same day.

Lim takes on fixed income chief
Hedge fund Lim Advisors has hired Donald Ewer as head of fixed income and credit. Ewer starts at the Hong Kong-based firm in early May.

In the newly-created role, Ewer will report to CIO George Long and work primarily on the Lim Asia multi-strategy fund.

He will also advise on credit and fixed income investment strategies across all of Lim’s funds, which have some $2 billion of AUM. Ewer’s recruitment comes after Lim added a hedge fund manager in April, as reported.

Ewer joins from BTG Investments’ Hong Kong office where he has covered Asian credit and convertible bonds since 2009. Before that he worked for Citadel Investment Group, Caxton Associates, his own hedge fund DE Capital Management, Forrest Investment Management and ABN Amro.

“We do not anticipate the need to replace Donald,” said Steve Jacobs, BTG Pactual´s global head of asset management. BTG Pactual is expanding in private banking with the acquisition of BSI, as reported. That deal is expect to close in the coming months, said Jacobs, and “does not impact BTG staffing requirements in Asia”.

Manulife bolsters fixed income team
Manulife Asset Management has hired Eric Liu as a portfolio manager for Hong Kong and China fixed income. Liu, who joined the company on April 13, replaces Ronald KT Chan who has become head of North Asia investments at Manulife. Liu reports to Paula Chan, senior portfolio manager in charge of the Hong Kong dollar and renminbi fixed income investment team.

Liu’s role will be to contribute to the research and analysis of Hong Kong and China fixed income securities and to the management of related portfolios.

The Hong Kong and China fixed income investment team is now four-strong. Manulife AM has more than US$44 billion in fixed income assets under management in the region.

Liu joins Manulife from Citicorp Hong Kong, where he was a trader and vice-president in charge of the Asian local currency credit trading desk. Liu left Citi last month after joining in 2014. A Citi spokesman declined to comment on whether Liu has been replaced yet. Prior to that he worked at Harvest Global Investment from 2013-2014 as a fixed income portfolio manager looking after offshore renminbi and dollar investments. While at Standard Chartered between 2007-2013 Liu had various roles, his last being associate director on the bank’s local currency credit trading desk specialising in Hong Kong dollars and onshore and offshore renminbi.

Rothschild appoints China equities chief
Edmond de Rothschild Asset Management has appointed Weiwei Li as head of Chinese equities. Based in Hong Kong, Li will report to Thomas Gerhardt, head of emerging equities and commodities. Li took up her new position on March 1, but the appointment was announced yesterday. Li will lead the China team as well as acting as lead manager for the EDR China Fund and the EDR Chinagora Fund (QFII Fund).

She replaces Xing Hu, who left Rothschild on March 1.

Li joined Edmond de Rothschild AM (Hong Kong) in 2011 as a senior fund manager after working as Asia Specialist at Altima Partners from 2007 to 2011. She had previously been a fund manager specialising in China at Fabien Pictet in London from 2005 to 2007. Prior to that she worked at ABN Amro and Invesco.

Rothschild said Hu, who joined Rothschild in May 2013, had left the firm “to explore new professional opportunities”.

TA takes on China director
Private equity firm TA Associates has hired Daisy Cai as a China director. Hong Kong-based Cai, who joined on April 20, reports to managing director Edward Sippel and will focus on investments in China-based growth companies. A spokesman for the company confirmed that Cai’s role is newly created.

Cai worked for Goldman Sachs Investment Partners in Hong Kong for five years before joining TA Associates, focusing on Greater China growth capital investments in the TMT, consumer and education sectors. Before that (between 2007-09), she worked for Deutsche Bank Principal Investments, also in Hong Kong, and focused on Greater China PIPE (private investments in public equity) deals as well as growth capital investments.

It is understood that Goldman Sachs is looking for a replacement for Cai.

Naveen Wadhera, the third director of TA Associates’ Hong Kong office – alongside Sippel and Cai – will continue to focus on Asia-Pacific and India deals. A spokesman for TA Associates said Cai’s joining is not expected to impact on Wadhera’s focus areas: “we are just growing the team in the region,” he said. Wadhera is also a director of TA Associates’ Mumbai office.

JP Morgan names China research chief
Investment bank JP Morgan has appointed Karen Li head of China equity research. Li, who assumed the newly-created position on April 22, will continue in her role as head of infrastructure and industrials research for Asia. Based in Hong Kong, Li will report to James Sullivan, head of equity research for Asia ex-Japan.

Since joining JP Morgan in 2005, Li has held roles in different coverage areas, including infrastructure, utilities and regional and small-cap stocks. Prior to joining JP Morgan, Li worked at Goldman Sachs in Japan.

TH Real Estate adds to Singapore team
Carsten Kebbedies was appointed as TIAA Henderson (TH) Real Estate’s Asia-Pacific head of business development on April 21.

Kebbedies has relocated to Singapore from TH Real Estate’s Frankfurt office where he was director of global business development. He reports to both Asia-Pacific managing director Chris Reilly and London-based head of global business development Austin Mitchell. The role is newly created.

Everstone hires new MDs
Roshini Bakshi and Rajev Shukla joined Everstone as Singapore-based managing directors of the private equity firm’s operations team at the start of April. Both are additions to the team, which is expanding.

Before joining Everstone, Roshini worked for Walt Disney (November 2005-August 2014) in Mumbai in various roles. Shukla worked for Unilever in Singapore since February 2008 and for Unilever in Mumbai before that.

Investec AM makes multi-asset credit hires
Investec Asset Management has appointed Jeff Boswell and Garland Hansmann to its global multi-asset team.  They were hired for the newly-created roles this month to expand the London-based firm’s multi-asset investment capability and develop specialist credit capabilities under team co-heads Michael Spinks, Philip Saunders and John Stopford. The team’s remit includes coverage of Asia.

Boswell and Hansmann join from London-based Intermediate Capital Group where Boswell was head of high yield, and Hansmann was head of portfolio management within ICG’s credit fund management division.

When asked whether Boswell and Hansmann had been replaced and what dates they left the firm, ICG spokeswoman Helen Gustard refused to comment.

ASrIA gets new chairman
The new chairman of the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA)’s board has been named as Assaad Razzouk. The announcement was made on April 20.

Jessica Robinson, ASrIA’s CEO, said that Razzouk takes over as chairman with “immediate effect”. His first full board meeting will be in July.

Razzouk has been on ASrIA’s board for more than a year, and was on its advisory board for two years prior to that.

Singapore-based Razzouk is CEO of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources. “At this point, ASrIA will remain in Hong Kong” said Robinson, adding that she hoped to open an office in the Lion City “one day”.

Razzouk takes over as chair from Alexandra Tracy who retired ASrIA’s April board meeting, as did ASrIA co-founder Tessa Tennant.

Orrick recruits for M&A team
Law firm Orrick announced has hired Hiroshi Sarumida as a partner in its M&A and private equity group. New York-based Sarumida, who joined Orrick on April 17, will also be the law firm’s US chairman of its Japan transactional practice. Sarumida joins from law firm Skadden Arps, where he served as a leader of its US-based Japan practice group. In the newly-created role Sarumida reports to King Milling, leader of Orrick’s global corporate business unit.

Sarumida will advise Orrick’s Japanese and multinational clients in cross-border mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures, corporate finance transactions and other corporate matters. Sarumida will advise the firm’s Japanese clients on executing strategic investments in the US and globally.

Sarumida joined Skadden Arps in November 1996, and was promoted to counsel in 2005. Prior to joining Skadden, Sarumida worked at New York-based Kelley Drye & Warren as an associate from September 1994.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Maybank to launch funds with eye on passporting

UBS revamps products, intermediaries divisions