BNPP IP names new CEO for India
French fund house BNP Paribas Investment Partners announced the internal appointment of Sharad Sharma as chief executive of its Indian business.

Sharma started as head of BNP Paribas Mutual Fund at the beginning of the year, replacing the long-serving Nikhil Johri, who left in September last year to pursue other opportunities.

Based in Mumbai, Sharma reports to Vincent Camerlynck, Asia-Pacific CEO for BNPP IP.

Sharma was most recently head of operations of retail financial services firm Geojit BNP Paribas Financial Services as managing director.

Sharma joined BNP Paribas in 1989 and has previously held management positions including head for north and east Asia and country head for wealth management in India.

Shortly before he left the firm last September, Johri wrote an email to AsianInvestor in which he said: “I started our current asset management business under the ABN Amro ownership exactly 10 years ago.

“The business changed ownership twice since then [from ABN Amro to Fortis to BNP Paribas]. Leading the organisation through the constantly changing environment kept me quite engaged in what has otherwise been a long stint. I set a target of pursuing another opportunity after completing the milestone of 10 years.”

BNP Paribas Mutual Fund has €1.1 billion ($1.3 billion) in assets under management.

BNPP IP saw its business in Asia Pacific grow 18% year-on-year to €47 billion as of the end of November last year.

Ontario Teachers poaches CIC private equity MD
Olivia Ouyang has moved from China’s sovereign wealth fund to the C$140.8 billion ($118 billion) Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan in Hong Kong.

She started in December as director of funds and co-investments at Teachers’ Private Capital, reporting to Nicole Musicco, vice-president for Teachers’ Private Capital in Toronto.

Ouyang focuses on relationships with private equity general partners, as well as making fund and co-investments into PE opportunities throughout the region.

At China Investment Corporation, she was most recently a managing director in the PE investment department, which oversees a portfolio of $30 billion in PE, credit and real estate investments. She has also served as head of global emerging markets and head of Europe at the $650 billion state fund.

In her 12-year PE career Ouyang has worked in the US, Europe and Asia. She has also been senior investment officer with the International Finance Corporation’s PE and investment funds group, covering Greater China, Southeast Asia and India consecutively.

Her other employers have included Jupiter Partners, consultancy McKinsey & Company and Morgan Stanley.

Singapore's ARA AM sets up Australia business
David Blight has been named chief executive of ARA Asset Management’s Australian platform, effective January 12. The move gives the Singapore-based real estate manager a physical presence in Australia for the first time.

Blight left his last full-time role as CEO of APN Property Group two years ago to drive efforts to list a large real estate investment trust (Reit) – Pacific Retail Trust – on Australia’s stock exchange. That initial public offering, which was backed by ARA AM, was scrapped in August 2013 amid poor market sentiment. Blight’s new role with ARA has led to speculation that the offering might be revived, but ARA declined to confirm this.

Singapore’s Straits Trading Co – which owns assets in Australia that may be suitable for injection into a Reit vehicle – acquired a 20.1% stake in ARA AM in October 2013 from Hong Kong’s Cheung Kong Group and ARA Group CEO John Lim.

The Australia hire sees ARA move closer to having full regional coverage. It's understood that ARA AM has long sought a business partner in Japan but is yet to find a suitable candidate.

APN Property’s executive chairman – Christopher Aylward – assumed Blight’s role as CEO in May 2013. Blight had worked for ING Real Estate prior to joining APN.

As of September 30, 2014, ARA AM had assets under mnagement worth S$26.1 billion ($19.7 billion).

Credit Agricole Private Banking appoints new HK chief 
Antoine Candiotti is to become CEO of the Hong Kong branch of Credit Agricole Private Banking, effective March 1. He was previously CEO for the Americas and now reports to Hans Diederen, Asia CEO.

Candiotti will replace Serge Janowski, who joined Julius Baer as head of special markets in Hong Kong in December after three years with Credit Agricole. His role is newly created and focuses on institutional client opportunities. He reports to Kaven Leung, deputy head for Asia Pacific and CEO of North Asia.

Candiotti was Hong Kong CEO at Credit Agricole Private Banking from 2005 to 2010, and Singapore-based head of Asia from 2003-2005.

Citi names Luchetti head of Asian retail banking
Citi has appointed Gonzalo Luchetti as Asia head of its retail bank with immediate effect, as reported by FinanceAsia, a sister title to AsianInvestor.

Luchetti relocates from New York to Hong Kong and continues as global head of wealth management and insurance at the consumer bank.

He replaces Roy Gori, who left Citi in December to become Manulife's Asia chief executive. Luchetti will report to Jonathan Larsen, Hong Kong-based global head of retail banking.

The relocation of Luchetti and his global head role to Hong Kong reflects the increasing affluence of the Asian consumer and the heightened interest in the region among global investment banks.

Citi’s consumer business has a particular Asian focus, with 12 out of the bank’s 24 consumer markets located in the region.

Luchetti will be responsible for retail products and sales and distribution in the region on top of his existing global role.

Cao made CBRC vice-chairman
Cao Yu was appointed a vice-chairman at the China Banking Regulatory Commission (CBRC) on January 14. He has replaced Yan Qingmin, who was named as the deputy mayor of Tianjin province last month.

The government has not unveiled Cao’s duties in detail, but it is believed he will take up Yan’s responsibilities in supervising the compliance division, policy banks, China Development Bank, Postal Savings Bank of China, financial asset management companies and non-banking institutions. Local media speculated Cao will also be responsible for regulation and internet finance policies.

Cao was previously an official in the State Council General Office, responsible for economic and financial policies.

Sidley names new partners
US law firm Sidley Austin has promoted Christopher Cheng to partner in Hong Kong as part of a group-wide series of promotions in the region, effective January 15.

He focus includes structuring private equity investments and fund formation in Asia. He also has experience in corporate finance, M&A and banking/finance transactions.

Other new partner appointments in Asia Pacific, focused on capital markets, include Nicholas Chan, Carrie Li and Renee Xiong, who are all based in Hong Kong, and Mimma Barila who is based in Sydney.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Principal Global Investors in management rejig

UBP shuns JVs, WFOEs, for new China business

Long-standing hedge fund HT Capital to close

Kasikorn AM building cross-border business