Weekly roundup of people news, Dec 20

Brightsphere Investment names new Asia head; Value Partners rings more changes in sales team shake-up; Natixis IM's China head to relocate to Paris; CIC switches CRO to new role; Allianz RE hires Apac head of acquisitions; and more.
Weekly roundup of people news, Dec 20


US fund house Brightsphere Investment Group, which rebranded from Old Mutual Asset Management last year, has appointed a new head of Asia in a push to build its business in the region.

Michael Han, previously head of business development at China Life Franklin Asset Management, took up the new role in October and remains in Hong Kong. He replaces Miranda Poon, who departed in June, and reports to Brian Carroll, Brightsphere's Boston-based head of global distribution.

The appointment comes after Olivier LeBleu left his role as multi-affiliate investment firm Brightsphere’s head of international (ex-US) distribution in September. LeBleu had held the London-based post for seven years, but will not be replaced, a spokesman said. There will instead be a head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa in place from the first quarter of next year.

These changes come after Brightsphere named Yang Guang as chief executive in December to succeed Steve Belgrad. Guang has substantial Asia experience, having worked at US fund house Franklin Templeton as executive vice president of global equities and also as the firm’s China chairman.

Han himself had spent some five years at China Life Franklin Templeton, a joint venture between Beijing-based insurer China Life and Franklin Templeton. Before that he had worked at German bank Dresdner Kleinwort and China’s ICBC.

An executive at China Life Franklin said the firm was planning to replace Han but had not yet done so.


Hong Kong fund house Value Partners will see several more departures in the coming few months, including that of Singapore head Alistair Ding in a restructuring of its sales team. It has also promoted Wallace Tsang to Asia-Pacific head of intermediaries.

Ding, sales director and head of the Singapore business, had joined the firm in September 2014 and will move on in March 2020, as will Kathy Li, Hong Kong-based senior director for alternative products.

Other imminent departures from the sales team include Victor Lam, associate director for private banking, and Kenneth Lee, senior manager for retail distribution. Both will move on in February.

And Jacqueline Jang left her role as director for retail distribution in October after three months in the post to join BOCHK Asset Management, according to Securities and Futures Commission records.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based Tsang took up his expanded role in October, having previously been head of intermediary business. A spokeswoman declined to say precisely what his coverage had included before.

She added that the firm had re-aligned its sales team, consolidating private banking and retail distribution across Hong Kong, Singapore and other markets.

The aim, she said, is to better serve the firm's investors and business partners in Singapore and other markets. Tsang now heads all private banking channels, “ensuring communications and synchronisation across all regions”.

These latest developments follow a turbulent few years for Value Partners, involving several rounds of personnel changes. Vicky Yick, who had overseen private bank coverage, left in September to join American Century Investments. That came a month after a leadership shakeup and added to several other senior departures this year.


David Plard

David Plard, Natixis Investment Managers’ China country head and China/Hong Kong head for institutional business, is set to relocate to the firm's Paris headquarters for a new role, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Plard’s regulatory licence in Hong Kong ended on December 10, but he is still in Hong Kong and will take up the new post in France early next year, AsianInvestor understands.

Natixis IM declined to comment on Plard's move or on whether he would be replaced. 


Zhao Haiying

Zhao Haiying has been appointed as executive vice president at China Investment Corporation (CIC), according to a release on the sovereign wealth fund’s website on December 17.

Zhao was previously chief risk officer of CIC. She had also served as a member of the executive committee and as executive vice president of Central Huijin, which undertakes equity investments in domestic state-owned financial institutions.

CIC declined to comment on what Zhao's new responsibilities would entail or on who woud succeed her in her former posts.  


Allianz Real Estate, the property investment arm of German insurance group Allianz, has appointed Danny Phuan to the newly created role of Asia-Pacific head of acquisitions.

Danny Phuan

Phuan joined on December 2 and reports to Rushabh Desai, Asia-Pacific chief executive. Both are based in Singapore. 

Phuan was previously chief investment officer for North Asia at Singapore's Keppel Capital, which declined to comment on his departure.

His appointment is aimed at strengthening Allianz RE's presence and acquisition capabilities in Asia Pacific. It comes after multiple strategic investments in the region this year, and marks another step for Allianz having 10% of its global real estate portfolio in the region, the company said in an announcement.

Allianz RE’s Asia-Pacific allocation accounted for 5.4% of its €67.1 billion ($74.8 billion) global portfolio as of June 30.


Hong Kong's securities regulator has banned Ang Wing-Fung and Chan Kam-Wah, the former chairman and chief financial officer of W. Falcon Asset Management (Asia), from re-entering the industry for life and for three years, respectively.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) had already revoked Falcon's licence in February.

Ang and Chan were involved in "window-dressing" the firm’s liquid capital, a practice that Falcon adopted since its SFC licence application in June 2014, said the watchdog in a statement. The information provided in its licence application and financial returns between 2014 and 2017 was also false or misleading.

Falcon’s month-end liquid capital was window-dressed by including in its liquid capital computation the amount of several cheques Ang drew on some bank accounts that were subsequently dishonoured.

“Had the amount of these cheques issued by Ang been excluded, Falcon would have been denied a licence to carry on regulated activities due to a liquid capital deficit at the time of its licence application and at each of the month-ends over a three-year period,” the SFC noted.

Moreover, Ang failed to notify the SFC of his resignation from the firm in October 2017 within seven business days, as is required.


Gretchen Yuan

Property services firm CBRE has appointed Gretchen Yuan as executive director to head its capital advisors team for Asia. 

Based in Hong Kong, Yuan started on November 25 and reports to Tom Moffat, Hong Kong-based head of capital markets for Asia. She will provide capital fund-raising and advisory services for institutional investors in the region.

Some of Yuan's responsibilities are newly created, while others were previously looked after by other members of the team, said a CBRE spokesperson.

Yuan was previously a principal at capital advisory firm Hodes Weill & Associates responsible for institutional capital and investment managers in Greater China. Hodes Weill declined to comment on her departure.


 Luke Ng

BCT, a provider of Mandatory Provident Fund products and asset services in Hong Kong, has hired Luke Ng as its first vice president for investment analysis and product development.

He joined the firm on December 16 and is responsible for selecting funds, a well-placed source told AsianInvestor. BCT declined to comment on his reporting line or on whom he replaced.

Ng was previously head of Asia research at fund data provider FE Fundinfo, where he was responsible for fund due diligence and selection and investment advisory. FE Fundinfo could be reached for comment.


HSBC Private Bank has appointed former UBS executives Ng Aik-Ping and Edith Ang as co-heads of family office advisory for Asia Pacific and senior family governance advisers.

It has also named Dorothy Chan as Asia-Pacific head of philanthropy advisory and charitable services and Christine Wong as Greater China head for private wealth solutions.

Aik-Ping Ng
Ng Aik-Ping

Based in Hong Kong, they all joined HSBC in September.

Ng and Ang report to Connie Ho, Asia-Pacific head of family governance and family enterprise succession, while Chan and Wong report to Cynthia Lee, Asia-Pacific head of private wealth solutions.

The roles of Ng, Ang and Wong are newly created, a bank spokesman said, declining to elaborate on how those areas were dealt with in the past.

Chan is replacing Cynthia D’Anjou-Brown, Asia-Pacific head of philanthropy and family governance advisory services, who is retiring from the firm this month. Her title suggests that she had also looked after some of the functions now taken on by Ang and Ng. 

At UBS, Ng was a senior adviser for ultra-high-net-worth clients, while Ang previously worked with UNHW clients on family legacy solutions. 

Chan was previously vice president of corporate relations at casino and hotel operator Galaxy Entertainment. The firm declined to comment on her departure.

Wong was previously director of Credit Suisse’s trust and estate advisory team for Greater China. The firm declined to comment on her departure.

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