Z-Ben loses head of research in Hong Kong move

Haochuan ‘Howhow’ Zhang, director of research at Shanghai-based consultancy Z-Ben Advisors is moving to Hong Kong and has left the firm, effective June 30.

Since joining Z-Ben in 2005, Zhang has led the firm’s research division, which drives its output on China’s financial services industry to clients from the banking, investment management, and insurance industries.

Peter Alexander, Z-Ben’s CEO told AsianInvestor: “He decided the time was right to look for a new challenge. He has been central to our success as a firm.”

Zhang hasn’t yet settled on where he will go next. AI understands the move to Hong Kong is for personal reasons and Zhang is currently weighing his employment options. Z-Ben does not have an office in Hong Kong at this time and Alexander says there are still no firm plans to establish one.

However, in a separate development, Z-Ben is in the process of setting up a presence in the US, initially in New York. Another of the firm’s senior executives from the Shanghai office, Tony Skriba, relocated to New York City at the end of May and is already working closely with several key US clients.

Alexander says, “There is real demand for a better understanding of the China market in the US. Institutions are not up to speed. In fact, we have been surprised at the low level of understanding. Things are now moving so fast; significant policy initiatives that are impacting global investment managers and asset owners. The pressure is on from senior executives in the US who want to know what the guys on the ground in Asia are doing.

“If all goes accordingly to plan we will officially open an office later this year.”

Sussfeld elevated to Asia CEO at BNPP Cardif

BNP Paribas Cardif announced today (July 2) that Vincent Sussfeld has assumed the role of Asia CEO effective immediately. Hong Kong-based Sussfeld became deputy Asia CEO of the insurer earlier this year. He reports to Paris-based COO, Jean-Bertrand Laroche. 

Sussfeld takes over the role from Xavier Guilmineau who is moving to a new undisclosed role within the BNP Paribas Group.

Prior to taking up the deputy Asia CEO role, Sussfeld was based in France as head of sales for the partnership channel, according to his LinkedIn profile. Before that he was deputy CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif’s joint venture with the State Bank of India, SBI Life Insurance, between April 2009 and August 2012.

In Asia, the insurer also operates joint ventures with the Bank of Beijing, Shinhan, Taiwan Cooperation Bank, Vietcombank and SeABank, which provide distribution channels for the (typically principal-protected) investment products it offers.

Gabbay takes lone CEO role at LaSalle IM as Ling retires

Phillip Ling, Asia-Pacific co-CEO for real estate group LaSalle Investment Management, retired on June 30. Hong Kong-based Mark Gabbay continues as LaSalle’s sole Asia-Pacific CEO. Ling joined LaSalle in 2007 as Asia-Pacific managing director before being promoted to Co-CEO.

Ling joined LaSalle in 2007 to lead the management of the business in Asia, initially as managing director for the region and subsequently as CEO. He remodeled the business by integrating the investment, asset management and portfolio management activities. He is credited with helping to successfully steer LaSalle’s business through the global financial crisis by focusing on maintaining the value of acquired assets.

Ling relocated from Singapore to Brisbane in 2012 to build up the firm’s Australian business while continuing to co-head the Asia Pacific business with Gabbay.

Before joining LaSalle, Ling headed up Lend Lease’s Australian investment management business. He will remain as a Non-executive Director of the Responsible Entity of the firm’s Australian business.

Gabbay has been with LaSalle since 2010. Prior to this he spent two years as managing director at Nomura Securities in Hong Kong. From 2011 to 2008 he was co-head of the global real estate group, Asia at Lehman Brothers.

Zhai joins China Alpha as CEO

Dr. Philip Zhai has joined China Alpha Fund Management’s Hong Kong operation as chief executive officer, effective July 1. He will be responsible for the investment advisory and asset management businesses.

Zhai has over 15 years’ experience in corporate management and investment banking. He was previously managing director of J. P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) from September 2009 to March this year. From 2007 to 2009 he was managing director of Macquarie Hong Kong. He is also the vice chairman of the Chinese Financial Association of Hong Kong.

Also on July 1, China Alpha launched a “deep value friendly activist fund”. Wang Junyan, Chairman of China Alpha Fund Management, confirmed that Zhai will play an active role in the investment selection and decision-making for the firm.

Sohn becomes first investment posting at M&G in Asia

M&G Investments announced the appointment of its first Asia-based investment specialist on June 29. Singapore-based Jeik Sohn started in the newly created role on July 1.

He reports directly to the asset manager’s Asia managing director, Andrew Hendry. The role involves providing Asia client feedback to the firm’s London-based fund managers and investment specialists, as well as market updates from London to client servicing and distribution teams based in the region.

M&G has a total of 26 investment specialists and nearly 300 investment professionals based in London, covering equities, fixed income, multi asset and property.

Colliers hires Hong Kong MD from CBRE

Real estate services firm Colliers International says Nigel Smith is joining the firm from rival CBRE. Smith will start as managing director of Colliers’ Hong Kong business in September.

He has been heading up CBRE’s Asia office agency services business. CBRE confirmed that Smith is leaving the firm and that his official departure date is September this year. A spokeswoman for the firm said there is “no announced replacement as yet” for the role.

Colliers’ Hong Kong has been without a managing director since Richard Kirke left last October to join CBRE.

Smith has 30 years of real estate experience and 25 years in Asia based in Hong Kong. He joins following 13 years with CBRE in Hong Kong, where he was most recently managing director, Office Agency Services Asia. Smith will report to David Hand, who started as Colliers’ Asia-Pacific CEO in June 2015 and joined from Jones Lang LaSalle. He is also the current chairman of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) commercial property groups for Asia and Hong Kong and is a member of the RICS Hong Kong Board.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor over the past week:

http://www.asianinvestor.net/News/399325,stanchart-appoints-global-head-of-managed-investments.aspx

http://www.asianinvestor.net/News/399184,citi-names-asia-head-of-consumer-banking.aspx