Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank appoints first CIO
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has named former Indian government official DJ Pandian as its first chief investment officer. He will lead the planning and supervision of the China-led bank’s infrastructure investment, overseeing a portfolio of up to $100 billion.

Pandian has spent 30 years working in various senior public roles in India at state, national, and international levels in the energy, infrastructure, finance and industry sectors.

He has served in the government of Gujarat in various capacities including chief secretary, and established the Gujarat Energy Research and Management Institute. He has also served as chairman, director and trustee at a number of state-owned enterprises.  

Pandian helped liberalise the policy regime to attract international investment to crucial infrastructure sectors including power, airlines, ports and telecoms, said the AIIB in a release. 

Search firm Stemp setting up IM practice
Chris Gunns has left Shanghai's China Universal Asset Management to start building an investment management practice for Hong Kong-based financial services recruiter Stemp International.

Remaining in Hong Kong, he started this month, reporting to founder and managing director Tom Stemp and working on mandates for asset managers, asset owners and intermediaries.

“The firm is now poised to expand into new sectors, and Tom felt that asset management was a natural extension to the current business model,” noted Gunns.

He said his 33-year career in financial markets sales, on both sell side and buy side, across Asia Pacific has resulted in “a large number of very good friends and connections”.

Moreover, he told AsianInvestor, “I have always been a big believer in the fact that it is never too late to change careers and reinventing oneself can be both a challenge and a revelation”.

“Whether I can convert all of my work experience into a model of excellent and ethical executive search remains to be seen,” added Gunns, “but having been on the receiving end of the industry over three decades I feel that I have a broad understanding of what it takes to be successful.”

As for the attraction of Stemp International as a firm, he pointed to the level of respect Tom Stemp had achieved in wealth management search in his seven years in Asia and three-and-a-half years since founding the business. Stemp left Pelham Search Pacific in May 2012, as reported.

Before joining China Universal as managing director for international business in May 2013, Gunns had worked with several firms across Asia Pacific, including ING Investment Management (for a total of nine years), US asset manager Neuberger Berman and Baring Asset Management.

RBC WM hires former Coutts exec as Asia team head
RBC Wealth Management, part of Royal Bank of Canada, has appointed Shirley Tang as managing director and team head for Asia. She joined in January from Coutts, where she had been a managing director and team leader, but RBC could not provide any more detail about this previous role by press time.

Tang is the latest in a series of departures from Coutts’ Asia business, following the UK firm’s sale of its international arm to Swiss rival UBP last year, a deal that is close to completion.

Based in Hong Kong, Tang is responsible for leading a team of relationship managers for high-net-worth individuals. She reports to Ignatius KK (Iggy) Chong, who joined as one of three Greater China heads in September 2014 from Coutts.

Tang’s role has been newly created as part of an effort to boost its client-facing teams in Greater China, which is being overseen by Chong, said an RBC spokeswoman.

Tang has also held roles at ABN Amro, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse.

Nikko AM poaches EM debt manager from BlackRock
Nikko Asset Management has added a senior portfolio manager, Raphael Marechal, to its emerging-market debt team in London. He joins from BlackRock, where he was a portfolio manager in the EM team. 

Marechal has 20 years of experience in EM debt at firms including BNP Paribas Investment Partners and Fortis Investments.

BlackRock transferred his management responsibilities for the BGF Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond Fund to Michal Wozniak, who co-runs the fund with Sergio Trigo-Paz and Laurent Develay.

Nikko AM has made other recent additions to its fixed income team, including Holger Mertens as a global credit fund manager, Steve Williams as a senior portfolio manager and Yip Ee-Yung as a portfolio manager – all in August 2015.

Amundi Alternative Investments names new CIO 
Amundi Alternative Investments (AAI) has hired executive Heinrich Merz as chief investment officer from fund-of-hedge-fund (FoHF) firm Permal Investment Management. He replaces Sylvie Dehove, who is now global head of investment risk at parent fund group Amundi, according to her LinkedIn page.

Merz will remain in London and report to Herve Leclercq, deputy CEO of AAI.

Merz was co-deputy CIO for at Permal in London. Before that, he was a senior analyst at fund-of-funds firm Fauchier Partners (which Permal acquired in 2013), and a senior consultant at investment consultancy Cambridge Associates.

AAI manages $7 billion in assets, $3.3 billion of which are on its managed account platform.

At Permal, Christoph Englisch has taken on Merz's former responsibilities, having joined as lead portfolio manager in September from Lyxor Asset Management, where he was global head of equity strategies. There are still two deputy CIOs at Permal – Christopher Zuehlsdorff and Javier Dyer – reporting to CIO Robert Kaplan.

Pimco appoints new head of Emea
US asset manager Pimco has promoted Craig Dawson to head of Europe, the Middle East and Africa from head of strategic business management. He succeeds Bill Benz, who will retire in June after 30 years at the firm.

Before his role as head of strategic business management, Dawson was head of Pimco’s business in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, and head of product management for Europe. Prior to joining the company in 1999, Mr. Dawson was with Wilshire Associates, an investment consulting firm.

JP Morgan Private Bank replaces Emea equities head 
JP Morgan Private Bank has appointed Diana Robinson as head of equities for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Based in London, Robinson joins from RG Associates, a financial services consultancy she set up in 2009. She replaces Leando Veltri, who had held the role for 10 years and has now left the firm.

Robinson returns to JP Morgan, having worked there from 1997 to 2004, most recently as head of cash equities for Europe, according to her LinkedIn page. She also worked as head of equities for Europe at Bank of America from 2004 to 2008.

Other peoples news reported on AsianInvestor this week:

Man GLG outlines plans for EM debt buildout

Peter Flavel exits JP Morgan to head Coutts

Ex-Wocom exec gets Hong Kong life ban