EASTSPRING ATTRACTS JOYCE CHAN FOR INTERMEDIARIES COVERAGE

Singapore-based Eastspring Investments has hired Joyce Chan in a role covering intermediaries, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Joyce Chan

Chan was formerly the head of Hong Kong intermediary business development for PineBridge, but she left the US fund house in late November. AsianInvestor could not ascertain Chan's new job title or starting date, but it appears likely she will remain based in Hong Kong and with similar responsibilities.

A spokeswoman for Eastspring declined to comment on Chan's specific job title in her new role. However, her hire is set to be internally be announced late this year or in the beginning of 2020. 

The introduction of Chan is part of a broader effort by Eastspring, which is owned by life insurance company Prudential, to expand its intermediaries coverage.  

At Pinebridge, Chan's former responsibilities have been combined with the Greater China institutional business development team under the leadership of Hong Kong-based Maggie Zhao, a spokeswoman previously told AsianInvestor. She had worked at Pinebridge since 2010.

ALLIANZGI SENIOR PM RETIRES 

Dennis Lai, director and senior portfolio manager of Allianz Global Investors (AllianzGI), will retire at the end of December, AsianInvestor can reveal. His local regulatory license with the firm ended on December 6.

Dennis Lai

Having joined in 2003 and based in Hong Kong, Lai looked after Allianz Asian Small Cap Equity, Allianz Little Dragons and Allianz Emerging Asia Equity funds as lead manager. He was also involved in managing AllianzGI Global Small-Cap Fund and AllianzGI International Small-Cap Fund.

A spokeswoman for the asset manager told AsianInvestor that Lai’s responsibilities will be shared by the Hong Kong-based Asian equity team, including Raymond Chan, chief investment officer for Equity Asia Pacific, Stuart Winchester, Asian equity portfolio manager, and Chris Leung, senior portfolio manager for the firm’s Korean equity portfolios.

GREYSTAR HIRES TOKYO HEAD, PLANS COUNTRY TEAM

Greystar Real Estate Partners has hired Akira Kosugi as the head of its new Tokyo office, as the real estate investment firm aims to build its rental housing-focused business in the world's third-largest economy.

Kosugi is the former managing director and head of the Tokyo office for Westbrook. He left the company on September 30 only to start his employment at Greystar the following day, opening the office. Currently Kosugi is the only person employed in the country by Greystar. However, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor that the fund house aims to build a team of five by the end of 2020, under Kosugi's leadership. 

In a press release, Greystar stated that "cities with strong economic bases like Tokyo and Osaka, as well as select regional markets such as Nagoya and Fukuoka, represent an established national multifamily market with considerable investment potential".

In his job, Kosugi reports to Wes Fuller, executive managing director of investment management at Greystar. Before joining, he was a managing director and head of the Tokyo office for Westbrook. He had previously worked at Blackstone, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Grove International Partners. 

Westbrook did not respond to an emailed request for comment on how it has adapted to the departure of Kosugi. 

PIMCO'S CIO FOR ASSET ALLOCATION AND REAL RETURN TO RETIRE

Bond giant Pimco will lose Mihir Worah, its CIO for asset allocation and real return, in March 2020.

Mihir Worah

Worah will be retiring from the Newport, California-based fund manager at the end of March 2020 after working for the firm for more than 18 years, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor. He also oversaw portfolio management for the US and was the go-to person for a number of funds, including the Pimco GIS Global Real Return Inst USD Acc and Pimco GIS Total Return Bond Inst USD Acc, registered for sale in Hong Kong and Singapore.

The spokeswoman noted that Worah’s responsibilities will be seamlessly transitioned to several other managers and executives in the firm. Pimco has hired several new managing directors in the real returns area over the past two years, including most recently Nick Granger in quantitative strategies.

"Given the strength of this team and expertise in their chosen field, we do not plan to replace Mihir’s CIO seat," the spokeswoman said, adding: "the fact that Mihir has helped develop and hire many of the firm’s managers who will take up his responsibilities is testament to how thorough this process is."

Mohit Mittal, portfolio manager for liability driven investment and credit, has joined Scott Mather, the CIO for US core strategies and Mark Kiesel, CIO for global credit, on the total return team. The three men will co-manage the GIS Total Return Bond Fund, the spokeswoman said.

Meanwhile Lorenzo Pagani, head of European government bond portfolio management, and David Brhel, portfolio manager for real return co-manage the GIS Global Real Return Fund.

VP BANK SCOOPS UP TWO HIRES FROM JULIUS BAER

Liechtenstein-based VP Bank poached Davin Wong and James Leong from rival Julius Baer in Singapore, as the small but ambitious private bank continues to look to build out its regional business.

Davin Wong

Wong was hired as an executive director and team head, while his colleague Leong joined as an executive director and senior relationship manager. He reports to Wong, who in return reports to Karen Tan, head of private banking. 

A VP Bank spokesman confirmed the two men are hires into new appointments, as "part of VP Bank's Asia growth strategy". 

James Leong

Julius Baer did not reply to emailed questions for comment about the moves.

Wong has previously been a team head of relationship managers for Southeast Asia at Julius Baer, and had worked at the bank for three years, according to his LinkedIn page. He had also previously held roles at ANZ Private Bank Asia and UOB Private Bank.

Leong has over 30 years experience in wealth management, and most recently was a senior relationship manager at Julius Baer. He had also worked at ING, Bank of Singapore and Credit Suisse. 

The new appointments follow VP Bank hiring Thomas Jost as its new head of intermediaries as of August 1 to bolster its external asset manager unit. The private lender has been seeking to expand in the Asia region for much of the past decade.

BLACKROCK FIRES GLOBAL ACTIVE EQUITIES HEAD 

Mark Wiseman
Mark Wiseman

Blackrock has fired Mark Wiseman, global head of active equities, for violating the firm’s workplace relationships policy. He also chaired Blackrock Alternative Investors, a private equity and hedge fund business.

Wiseman, whose wife Marcia Moffat also works at Blackrock to lead the Canadian business, was engaged in a consensual extramarital relationship with a colleague without reporting it.

Blackrock said that the leaders of the active equity teams who previously reported to Wiseman would report to Rob Kapito, president and director of the firm, for the time being.

The firm also told AsianInvestor in a statement that Wiseman's departure would not affect its investments or operations, including in Asia Pacific.

“Mark Wiseman did not have any investment responsibilities and was not involved in the management of any of the platform’s portfolios. This transition won’t impact any portfolios or client activities. Investment and business leaders in equities and alternatives continue in their roles.“

No changes were announced in BlackRock’s alternatives business; it will continue to be led by Edwin Conway, global head of Blackrock Alternative Investors, who looks after the day-to-day operations, and Jim Barry, chief investment officer of the unit.

OTHER PEOPLE NEWS REPORTED IN ASIANINVESTOR:

ASI'S Asia team "in flux" as dealing head exits 

This story was updated to include BlackRock's statement about Mark Wiseman, and also to reflect the responsibilities of Dennis Lai of AllianzGI.