Axa IM hires Asia economist and credit head, loses PM
Paris-based Axa Investment Managers (Axa IM) has unveiled Jim Veneau as Asia head of credit and Christy Lee as a portfolio manager for Asian fixed income. They started in December and January, respectively.

AsianInvestor has also learned that Aidan Yao joined Axa IM in January as senior Asia economist to replace Sun Qi, who left the firm in August.

Yao was previously an economist at the Hong Kong Monetary Authority, where Sun had also worked before joining the French firm. Yao’s previous career includes stints at the Reserve Bank of New Zealand and Forsyth Barr Funds Management.

Meanwhile, Wendy Ho left her role in January as assistant portfolio manager for tactical asset allocation at Axa Rosenberg, the firm’s quantitative equity investment arm.

Based in Hong Kong and reporting to Rob Andrew, head of Asian fixed income, Veneau and Lee’s newly created roles boost the Asian fixed income team to five.

Veneau joined in December from HSBC Global Asset Management. There he was most recently an investment director for Asian fixed income, managing high-yield and investment-grade credit mandates.

It is understood that there will be a replacement for Veneau, but the source did not provide any timeframe. HSBC declined to comment.

Lee, who joined in January, will be responsible for the development and execution of pan-Asia credit strategies.

She joins from UBS Global Asset Management in Hong Kong, where she was an associate portfolio manager with experience in Asian high-yield and investment-grade credit portfolio and research.

Lee’s role is expected to be filled imminently, but in Singapore rather than Hong Kong, says a spokesman for the Swiss firm. He declined to name any potential candidates.

The new additions come after Axa IM moved its fixed income team from Singapore to Hong Kong in October as part of a drive to centralise its investment capabilities.

Future Fund names interim MD
Australia’s sovereign wealth fund has appointed Paul Mann as acting managing director.

Mann replaces president and managing director Mark Burgess at the Future Fund, who in September announced his resignation and intention to join the private sector. Today is his last day. He has been with the state fund since March 2011.

Mann was most recently chief financial officer and has been at the A$96.65 billion ($76 billion) investor for the past seven years.

A spokesman for the fund confirms that the search for a replacement to Burgess is ongoing, with the process having started in late 2013.

The fund returned 17.2% for 2013, according to its portfolio update report ending 31 December.

HK SFC reappoints Alexa Lam
Hong Kong’s securities regulator has reappointed Alexa Lam as deputy CEO and executive director of investment products, international and China for a one-year term effective from March 1.

Lam oversees the regulation of the Hong Kong retail investment product market, the Securities and Futures Commission’s policies on international engagements, and market development in mainland China and Hong Kong.

Some of Lam’s major work includes the engagement between the SFC and the mainland Chinese authorities on mutual recognition for funds, as well as the development of Hong Kong as an offshore renminbi centre, such as the RMB qualified foreign institutional investors (RQFII) scheme.

Morningstar creates research strategy role
Morningstar has named Anthony Serhan, currently chief executive for Australasia, as managing director of research strategy for Asia Pacific, effective April 1.

The fund research house created the role due to growth of its business in the region. Serhan will focus on research and analysis on Asia-Pacific securities markets, economic and financial trends and investment themes. He will expand the firm’s “research thought leadership” in the region, says a spokeswoman.

Serhan will remain in Sydney, but will also be spending time in Morningstar’s other offices in Asia Pacific.

Heather Brilliant, currently global director of equity and corporate credit research, and Mark Roomans, currently chief operating officer of Morningstar Europe, will become co-CEOs of Australasia. They will manage the business together throughout 2014, and Brilliant will become sole CEO in 2015.

Brilliant will relocate to Australia from the US in the third quarter of 2014, but will be spending time in Sydney over the coming months. She has led the equity and credit analyst team for the past few years, managing more than 100 analysts across five offices, including Australia.

Roomans will not relocate to Sydney, but he will spend considerable amounts of time there in the coming months while Brilliant transitions to her new role.

Morningstar has around 30 experts in fund research and 34 in equity research for the Asia-Pacific region.

Barclays appoints two to research team
Barclays has beefed up its research team in Asia by appointing Sudeep Sarma as head of Asia-Pacific research and Bhavtosh Vajpayee as Asia ex-Japan head of equity research, effective immediately.

The moves at the UK bank follow the appointment of Jon Scoffin to head of equity research, which sees him move to New York. Scoffin effectively handled both roles following the departure of equity research head Stephen O’Sullivan in 2012, leaving that position vacant for two years.

Barclays told FinanceAsia, a sister publication to AsianInvestor, that Scoffin was considered to have enough Asian experience to perform the two roles.

Sarma, who in his new role will lead Barclays’ economic and equity research teams in Asia-Pacific, will retain his role as global chief operating officer for research. He will move from London to Singapore and continue to report to Larry Kantor, head of research.

Sarma joined Barclays in 2005 and has been in his current position since 2007. Prior to working at Barclays he worked as the Boston Consulting Group in London.

Vajpayee, meanwhile, will move from Mumbai to Hong Kong and manage teams based in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan.

He joined Barclays from CLSA in 2011 as head of equities for India.

Mongolia’s SkyPath names executive chairman
SkyPath Partners, a Mongolia-based consulting, advisory and principal investment group, has appointed 30-year mining industry veteran Cameron McRae as executive chairman.

Based in Ulaanbaatar, McRae took on the newly created board position this week.  He will be involved in the firm’s financial advisory, strategic consulting and principal investment activities. 

McRae was previously chief executive of Mongolian copper and gold mining company Oyu Tolgoi from 2010 to October last year.  He also has served as Rio Tinto’s country director for Mongolia and had held the post of managing director for Richards Bay Minerals in South Africa and Murowa Diamonds in Zimbabwe.

During his career, McRae has led several M&A transactions in the mining industry, among them the 1995 merger of RTZ Corporation and CRA, which created Rio Tinto.

SkyPath, which has a team of 14, was launched 10 months ago to advise on deals and strategies, including those involving Mongolian firms and government and foreign investors.  

Citi hires in prime finance
Citi’s prime finance division has hired Ben Sofoluwe as its head of Asia-Pacific stock loan and equity financing, reporting to Asia-Pacific head of prime finance Joseph Chang.

According to an internal memo, Sofoluwe is in charge of all stock lending and financing activities across Asia. In this newly created role, he works closely with the delta one, equities and investor services team of the bank.

Sofoluwe has some 20 years of experience in securities lending. Most recently he was equity finance and delta one trader at hedge fund EQI Asset management.

Sofoluwe was also head of European securities lending for Deutsche Bank for 13 years and before that spent five years at Morgan Stanley in London as a stock loan trader.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor this week:

Aberdeen strikes Indonesia deal, targets Dubai

Casey Quirk new branch eyes Chinese firms

Northern Trust opening in Malaysia, Philippines

More life bans handed out in Hong Kong

JP Morgan AM's new Singapore head mulls plans

HSBC Private Bank appoints investment co-heads

CSRC embarks on restructure

HK life bans for ex-Credit Suisse executive