Energy recruiter opens Hong Kong office
Global energy recruitment agency Spencer Ogden Energy has opened an office in Hong Kong, its second in Asia. It has 16 staff and aims to bring the headcount to over 25 by year-end.  

Spencer Ogden recruits sector analysts, corporate finance executives, investment and equity research analysts and traders focused on upstream exploration and downstream production across energy sectors, including oil and gas, power generation, nuclear, renewable and mining.

Clients include investment banks, brokers, equity research firms, hedge funds, proprietary trading firms, private equity funds and Reit firms as well as private and state-owned enterprises in the Asian energy arena.

Spencer Ogden has ambitious plans to expand its footprint in the region – it aims to open offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Kuala Lumpur and Australia in the next few years.

“In oil and gas alone China is soon to be the world’s number one oil importer, while Petro China overtook Exxon as the world’s largest oil producer in 2011,” says the firm's CEO David Spencer-Percival.

He adds that China has a “near monopoly on rare earth materials” globally, as well as some 26 nuclear power plants under construction and a number of solar and hydro energy projects.

Headquartered in London, Spencer Ogden has offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Houston, Calgary, Singapore and Hong Kong.

BoA-ML appoints custody manager
Bank of America-Merrill Lynch has hired Pauline Banks as senior product manager for its global custody agency services division.

She jointly reports to Ivo Distelbrink, head of Asia Pacific global transaction services in Hong Kong, and Stephanie Colaric, global custody product head in New York.

Banks will focus on the firm’s Asia Pacific custody capabilities and lead efforts to establish a sub-custody business model. Her position is new.

Previously she ran JP Morgan’s network management division in Asia, covering global custody, prime services, clearing and collateral management. Banks, who was an executive director at JP Morgan, worked at the firm from April 2001 through October 2009, according to her LinkedIn profile.

CBRE promotes head of global research
Property consultant CBRE Group has promoted Nick Axford to global head of research, a new position.

Axford was previously head of research for the firm’s Asia Pacific business, having held this role since 2010. The firm is now seeking a replacement. During the search, Axford will remain engaged in its Asia Pacific business, a spokeswoman says.

Axford, who will remain in Hong Kong, is now responsible for overseeing CBRE’s research operations, forming growth plans and advising and consulting clients on trends affecting commercial real estate globally.

Before becoming Asia-Pacific head of research, he led CBRE’s research team in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from 1998 to 2010. He is a member of CBRE’s global research and consulting executive committee.

CBRE’s investor clients include private equity firms and institutional investors. It also offers consultation services between buyers and sellers on the acquisition and disposal of investment properties.

Withers adds to wealth planning practice
International law firm Withers has named Michelle Chow as a consultant.

Chow joins the firm’s Hong Kong office and is now working on Wither’s planning practice, advising universities, schools, banks, corporations and individuals on trusts, wealth planning and philanthropy issues.

She previously practiced at Farrer & Co and Johnson Stokes & Master (now Mayer Brown JSM) in London and Hong Kong, before joining the Li Ka Shing Foundation from 2003-2006 as a legal counsel. She later rejoined Mayer Brown before coming to Withers on July 5. Mayer Brown does not have plans to replace her.

Gibson Dunn hires Hogan Lovells lawyer
Law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher has hired Brad Roach as a partner.

Roach, who stems from rival firm Hogan Lovells, will join the firm’s Singapore branch and work on its energy infrastructure and project finance practice.

He previously led Hogan Lovells’ oil and gas practice for Southeast Asia, also in Singapore. Hogan Lovells has not yet identified a replacement.

Roach’s hire brings Gibson Dunn’s headcount in Singapore to 10, four of whom are partners.

Lobby group adds fixed income director
The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association (Asifma) has named Vijay Chander as executive director for fixed income.

He replaces Patrick Pang, who will now oversee fixed income, compliance and tax at Asifma.

Chander will encourage dialogue between regulators and Asifma’s clients on issues affecting Asia’s fixed income markets, focusing on tax and compliance issues.

He joins the lobby group from Standard Chartered, where he was previously global head of credit for three-and-a-half years based in Hong Kong. He also worked at Citibank as head of market risk; Prudential Insurance Company as a credit portfolio manager within its Asian arm; Bear Stearns as a credit proprietary trader; and at BNP Paribas as a senior credit research analyst.  

Standard Chartered did not respond to a request seeking comment.

Other people moves reported in AsianInvestor this week:

BNY to expand Asia distribution business

Hermes to install head of Asia business development