Weekly roundup of people news, Aug 16

Nine Masts founder exits; Ontario Teachers' CEO on Asia buildout plans; First State Super's hiring spree; Merian poaches T. Rowe Price saleswoman; Capital Group beefs digital team; HSBC Singapore bolsters private banking
Weekly roundup of people news, Aug 16


James Tu, partner at Hong Kong-based hedge fund Nine Masts Capital, has left the company.

James Tu

Tu confirmed to AsianInvestor that he and his team had departed, declining to elaborate further.

His LinkedIn profile now lists him as the founder and chief investment officer of Long Corridor Asset Management, a position he started in January.

Nine Masts said in an emailed reply that he left the firm on July 31, and two other partners are taking care of his duties now.

The hedge fund declined to comment on how many members had followed Tu to leave the firm and whether they will be replaced.


Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan (OTPP) could triple its current Asia headcount of around 25 and is considering opening offices in Mumbai and Singapore, chief executive Ron Mock was quoted as saying on Wednesday (August 14).

Ron Mock

An OTPP spokeswoman confirmed the accuracy of the Reuters article, in which Mock elaborated on regional buildout plans discussed in April by Jo Taylor, the new CEO-designate. He had said it would probably place its next branch in the south of Asia, citing Australia, India and Singapore as potential locations.

Canada's third biggest public retirement fund by assets currently has an office in Hong Kong, its regional headquarters and only Asian presence.

Ontario Teachers, which managed C$191 billion ($144 billion) as of the end of 2018, could shift an extra C$11 billion into infrastructure and other real assets, Mock told Reuters.

Taylor, who will take over from Mock in January, told AsianInvestor the next most likely area of staff expansion in Asia was in its infrastructure capabilities. He had been in Hong Kong in July, familiarising himself with the plans of Asia head Ben Chan.

Elsewhere, London is set to remain OTPP's European base, and headcount could rise there from around 30 to more than 50 over the next two years, Mock added.

That is despite political turmoil in the UK as the country inches closer to leaving the European Union – that has not prompted OTPP to withdraw or postpone investment in Britain, Mock added.


First State Super plans to grow its Sydney-based investment team to more than 100 people from 80 by 2022 as it builds out in-house expertise across equities, fixed income, infrastructure and direct lending, chief investment officer Damian Graham said.

The Australian pension fund is on a hiring spree as it seeks to more than double in size to A$200 billion ($136 billion) within the next four years, a spokesman confirmed to AsianInvestor about Graham's comments made in a media interview.


Merian Global Investors has been appointed Karen Cheng as director of North Asia sales. She started August 12 and will report to Edward Ho, head of North Asia sales, according to a spokeswoman.

Based in Hong Kong, Chen is responsible for business development in North Asia, including primary target markets Hong Kong and South Korea. 

Cheng has replaced Kylie Chan, who left the firm in April to join Natixis Investment Managers as head of wholesale and retail sales for Hong Kong.

Cheng joined Merian from T. Rowe Price where she left in July 2019 and was most recently vice president and relationship manager, said a T. Rowe Price spokeswoman.

Cheng’s responsibilities have been assumed by T. Rowe's Greater China intermediary team, and the firm is seeking a replacement.

She has also previously worked at JP Morgan Asset Management, HSBC Canada, HSBC Private Banking and Coutts.


Capital Group has appointed Veronique Cornu and Vineeta Rawat in Singapore as head of digital for Asia Pacific and digital editor, respectively, effective July 2019.

Veronique Cornu_Capital Group
Veronique Cornu

Cornu reports to Derek Perry, London-based managing director of digital. Rawat is responsible for developing the group’s digital capabilities to support the sales team across Asia.

Cornu joined from MetLife Asia as head of digital marketing, a MetLife spokeswoman told AsianInvestor, but added that she has no further updates on whether the role has been filled.

Rawat reports to Cornu. Prior to joining Capital Group, Rawat was a freelance digital consultant for Singapoream bank DBS and Swiss bank UBS in Singapore, the group’s spokeswoman said.

Both roles have been newly created as part of the business expansion to build a dedicated team in Asia Pacific to provide digital support.


HSBC has been on a recruitment drive as it builds up its presence in the Lion City.

It named Penny Goh and Josh Bottomley directors to the board of HSBC Bank (Singapore), effective August 12.

Penny Goh

Singapore is a growth market for HSBC and the appointments will help build scale for the bank there, Mukhtar Hussain, chairman of HSBC Bank (Singapore) said. 

Singapore has been named one of eight markets globally where the bank wants to grow its local franchise to a domestic scale. As part of a plan announced in September 2018, HSBC aims to double its combined retail and private banking assets and to add more than 400 retail and private banking customer-facing employees over five years.
Goh is currently co-chairman and senior partner of Allen & Gledhill, heading its corporate real estate practice. Bottomley is HSBC Global’s head of digital, retail banking and wealth management.
Alice Fok
In Singapore, HSBC said it had also appointed Alice Fok as head of customer propositions and marketing, Ranojoy Dutta as head of retail products, and Ian Yim as head of wealth and international.

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