Weekly roundup of people news, Dec 19

BNY Mellon names wealth director; Mercer shuffles wealth team; Manulife AM creates global EM team; Isabelle Tian joins Sarasin; State Street adds Seck to management committee; and Withers enters Australia.
Weekly roundup of people news, Dec 19

BNY Mellon hires in wealth management
Newly established Asian private bank BNY Mellon Wealth Management has added Vivian Chan as wealth director of business development in Hong Kong.

She will provide discretionary investment and wealth management services to high-net-worth individuals and families. Chan reports to Chuck Long, head of greater China.

She joined from investment group Oppenheimer & Co in the US, where she was a director of investments responsible for creating financial strategies and solutions for high-net-worth families.

Chan’s role is newly created, following the launch of BNY Mellon’s wealth management unit in Hong Kong in October. It is an offshore business that focuses on Americans living in the region and nationals of Asian countries who are liable for US taxes or have a connection with the country.

Long said the group is planning to hire additional wealth directors, portfolio managers and other professionals to add to the 10-man front-office team and 50 operational staff in the region.

Mercer shuffles Asia wealth practice
Investment consultancy Mercer has made changes to its wealth management practice in Asia.

Senior consultant Tan Guo has relocated from the US to Singapore to support the practice. He moved on December 15 after four years in Mercer’s Atlanta office.

Consultant Siew Ling Lay has moved from Singapore to Hong Kong to work in the wealth management practice there. She joined Mercer in the wealth practice last year and started in Hong Kong this month.

In mid-2014, Mercer had hired Bobby Bok from fund research house Morningstar to join the wealth practice as a consultant.

All three report to Steven Seow, Singapore-based head of wealth management for Asia.

Seow said the moves are a result of increased demand for consulting work from wealth managers. Banks, independent financial advisers, insurance companies and other distributors have increasingly looked to consulting firms to provide strategic support in building broader portfolios as well as with operational due diligence and product risk rating work, he noted.

Wealth managers are also seeking to minimise costs stemming from more compliance work in response to stricter regulations imposed on wealth managers, added Seow.

Manulife AM creates global EM equity team
Manulife Asset Management has set up a global emerging markets equity portfolio management team in London, and hired Kathryn Langridge as head and Philip Ehrmann as deputy head. The Canadian firm also plans to hire two analysts to the team in London in the next few months.

Langridge and Ehrmann will join on December 31, 2014 and January 8, 2015, respectively. They will manage an EM equity strategy for institutional clients, US insurance firm John Hancock and certain wealth management businesses of Manulife, and support other global equity strategies.

The duo, who both joined from Jupiter Asset Management in London, will report to Christopher Conkey, global chief investment officer for equity and fixed income.

Langridge, who started at Jupiter in 2010, is the firm’s fund management director responsible for global EM equity funds. Previously, she had been head of the global EM equities team at Lloyd George Management. She also worked at Invesco Perpetual for 17 years, including as head of Asian investments and head of international equity products.

Ehrmann, who joined Jupiter in 2006, is also a fund director and Jupiter's joint head of Asian equities. Previously, he was head of Pacific and emerging markets at Gartmore Investment Management.

A Jupiter AM spokesman said he could not confirm a replacement for either Langridge or Ehrmann. The firm had appointed Ross Teverson as head of strategy for global emerging markets in November.

“With the departure of Kathryn and Philip, Ross is providing strategic leadership for both funds, whilst Jupiter manager Ben Surtees and Jupiter analyst Charlie Sunnucks are ensuring continuity in the investment process,” said the spokesman.

“Ben is manager of the Jupiter Asian Fund and worked closely with Philip for the past eight years. Charlie joined Jupiter in early 2010 and worked closely with Philip.”

Sarasin makes senior China hire
Swiss private bank Sarasin has added Isabelle Tian as a managing director to its China client advisory team and plans to make further hires next year. Based in Hong Kong, she reports to Enid Yip, Asia chief executive.

A spokeswoman for Bank Sarasin declined to comment on the target number of hires or the China team’s current size.

Tian was previously a managing director on BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s China team, a role she held for two years. Before that, she served at HSBC covering state-owned and private enterprises, and Credit Suisse Private Banking during 2007-2010.

Sarasin had SFr131 billion ($135 billion) in assets under management and employed 2,000 staff as of end-2013.

State Street adds Seck to management committee
State Street Corporation has appointed Seck Wai Kwong, Asia Pacific head of global markets and global services, as the first and only Asia-based representative on its global management committee.

The committee, the firm's most senior strategy and policymaking team, is growing from 12 to 14 members with Seck’s December 18 appointment. The other addition is Gunjan Kedia, head of Americas mutual fund, insurance and institutional client investment servicing.

Hong Kong-based Seck joined State Street from Singapore Exchange in 2011. He was SGX chief financial officer for eight years and before that worked for the Monetary Authority of Singapore, sovereign wealth fund GIC, Lehman Brothers and DBS Bank.

The 12 existing members of the committee are State Street CEO Joseph Hooley, State Street Global Advisors CEO Scott Powers, State Street vice chairmen Joseph Antonellis and James Phalen, CFO Michael Bell, chief legal officer Jeffrey Carp, chief risk officer Andrew Kuritzkes, chief information officer Chris Perretta, chief HR and citizenship officer Alison Quirk, Emea head Peter O’Neill, Americas head of global markets and global services Michael Rogers and executive vice president John Klinck Jr.

Withers expands into Australia with strategic alliance
Law firm Withers has established a presence in Australia under a new alliance with tax firm Balazs Lazanas & Welch.

Sydney-based Withers SBL offers tax and corporate services and is headed by Rita Chowdhury, newly hired as a partner specialising in immigration law. She previously had her own private practice, Integrate Legal, and before that worked at Deloitte.

Justin Shmith, a former corporate partner at law firm Ashurst in Melbourne, will also form part of the Withers SBL team.

“Our alliance partners will work closely with our teams in Hong Kong and Singapore to benefit from the vigorous flow of business between Australia, China and Southeast Asia more broadly," said Withers managing director Margaret Robertson.

“They will also work with our European and US teams to provide cutting-edge advice to their Australian clients as they expand their investments outside Australia.”

Other people news reported by in the past week:

Fund executive turnover on rise in China

BlackRock names iShares management team

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