Weekly roundup of people news, Feb 26

Pimco names new Apac head; Hines expanding Japan and Korea teams; T. Rowe Price appoints wholesale and family office head; Odey's Brook AM lures another Newton exec for new EM fund; Complyport HK sees ownership change, renamed S2 Compliance; Rob Lance joins portfolio software startup to run Asia sales; Tokyo Stock Exchange names president.
Weekly roundup of people news, Feb 26


Fixed income-focused fund house Pimco has appointed Alec Kersman as head of Asia Pacific, effective mid-2021, replacing Kimberley Stafford. He will relocate to Hong Kong from New York for the role.

Stafford will take on a newly created position as global head of product strategy, relocating from Hong Kong to Pimco's headquarters in Newport Beach, California. She will continue to report to chief executive Emmanuel Roman.

Kersman is currently head of strategic accounts for Pimco’s US global wealth management business and reports to Gregory Hall, head of US global wealth management. In his new role, Kersman will report to Roman. 

Previously, Kersman was Pimco's head of Latin America and the Caribbean between 2005 and 2017. Prior to joining the fund manager he worked at BBVA’s pension fund in Argentina.

David Fisher and Eric Sutherland will become co-heads of US global wealth management strategic accounts, replacing Kersman in New York.

Pimco has also announced that Ryan Korinke, Hong Kong-based head of hedge fund and quantitative strategies, would relocate to California in the summer. A spokeswoman said he would join the executive office as managing director and that there were no plans to replace him.

Pimco has seen other leadership role changes in the Asia region over the past year, including the departure of Asia ex-Japan head Michael Thompson and the appointment of Theresa Tan as head of South Asia clients and Singapore.

This story has been updated to indicate that there are no plans to replace Korinke at present.


Hines has appointed Tokyo-based Drew Huffman to oversee new business initiatives in Japan and South Korea and hired two more executives in the two countries.

A spokesman said the US real estate investment firm expected to double its total headcount of seven across its Seoul and Tokyo offices by the year end.

Drew Huffman

Huffman's job title remains managing director covering business development but he will focus specifically on South Korea and Japan. He joined Hines in 2011 and relocated to Tokyo from Hong Kong in early 2020. 

Huffman continues to report to Asia Pacific chief executive Ray Lawler, a company spokeswoman said.

Joining the local teams are Lee Hyungsub as a director in the Seoul office and Sho Morita as an associate in Tokyo. The former started on January 25 and the latter in July last year. Both report to Huffman and are newly created roles.

Lee was the former head of transactions for Korea at DWS, which declined to comment on his departure.

Morita joined Hines after eight years with Hulic, one of Japan’s largest real estate companies. He resigned on June 30 last year from his last position as assistant manager of the asset management group. His assignment was absorbed among other project members under the senior manager, a Hulic spokesman said.

Hines opened the Seoul and Tokyo offices in 2013 and 2017.


Jacquie Arnott

T. Rowe Price has expanded the role of relationship manager Jacquie Arnott to head of wholesale and family office distribution for Australia and New Zealand, effective February 22.

Arnott remains in Sydney and continues to report to Jonathon Ross, head of intermediary business for Australia and New Zealand.

The spokesman said Arnott's role had been created in line with greater demand for more selective exposure and risk management by this segment, and that its responsibilities were previously covered by the Australia and New Zealand institutional distribution team.

Arnott had joined T. Rowe Price in February 2015, before which she worked for Bank Julius Baer and Merrill Lynch Wealth Management in London and Los Angeles.

Sophia Whitbread


Brook Asset Management, a new unit of London-based Odey Asset Management, is bringing in Sophia Whitbread as assistant portfolio manager of its new global emerging markets strategy.

The open-ended strategy will launch and be led by Robert Marshall-Lee when he starts in March.

The duo previously worked at Newton Investment Management, where they managed the BNY Mellon Newton Global Emerging Markets Fund and the BNY Mellon Newton Oriental Fund since 2011 and 2019, respectively, said Brook AM in a release. Whitbread left Newton at the end of January.

Paul Birchenough and Ian Smith joined Newton in October from Axa Investment Managers to co-lead manage Newton’s global emerging market equity funds.


London-based compliance consultancy Complyport’s Hong Kong business this month returned to being totally independent and has been renamed S2 Compliance after founder Stuart Somer repurchased Complyport’s minority shareholding in the Hong Kong entity.

Stuart Somer

“This ownership change will have no implications for our staffing, the quality and scope of service delivery, or our fees,” Somer wrote in an email. The firm advises clients such as asset managers and family offices on regulatory and compliance issues.

The move came after Complyport Limited was acquired by a Cyprus-based firm last year. The latter had then proposed renegotiating the existing arrangements between the Hong Kong operation and Complyport Limited, Somer said. 

That would have resulted “in a change in the way I do business”, he added. “I didn’t think that such a change would make sense for my firm or, more importantly, my clients.” Hence Somer’s decision to repurchase Complyport’s minority shareholding.

After setting up his business under the name Corporate Support in 2004, Somer in 2013 sold a non-controlling share in the business to Complyport Limited, a London-based company with a similar business. The firm then began trading as Complyport (HK).


Illio Technology, a portfolio management software startup, has appointed investment veteran Rob Lance as head of sales for Asia Pacific.

Rob Lance

Formerly chief executive of Hong Kong-based hedge fund DragonBack Capital, Lance had filled the role at Illio on a consultant basis since last year before joining on a full-time basis this month. he said he was currently working in Sydney but would be spending more time around the region once Covid restrictions are eased.

He reports to Illio chief executive Vanessa Gibson and chief operating officer Ken Sue, who founded the company with offices in Hong Kong and London in 2019.

Lance previously worked at MCM Partners, a Hong Kong-based financial services boutique, before that was at Blue Quay Investment Management and also worked as Australia head of Ascalon Capital Managers. He also spent six years running DragonBack, a firm he founded in 2006. 


Hiromi Yamaji has been named as the new president of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, effective from April 1.

He is currently president and CEO of Osaka Exchange, where he will be succeded by Moriyuki Iwanaga, senior executive vice president of Japan Securities Clearing Corp.

Yamaji Hiromi

Yamaji will replace Akira Kiyota, who is currently acting president and chief executive of the exchange.

Kiyota has only been in the role since November, having taken it on after the worst outage in the bourse's history on October 1 led to the resignation of Koichiro Miyahara, a company spokesman said.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Ex-GIC and BlackRock tech guru to advise asset owners 

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