Consultancy PwC has appointed Natalie Breen to set up a team in London to help both Asia-based clients invest into UK and European property, and UK and European clients invest into real estate in Asia Pacific.

Natalie Breen

Breen will take up the new role on September 1. She has spent 15 years working in Asia Pacific, most recently with PwC since December 2016 as real estate legal leader in Singapore. As such, she helped clients invest offshore in commercial property in other parts of Asia, North America, Australia and Europe.

Breen's new team will provide real estate advisory services, including tax, financial due diligence, legal and corporate finance.

A PwC spokeswoman said she could not yet confirm how big the team would be, but that it would comprise experts from the firm across a number of areas.

Her employers prior to PwC include law firm Norton Rose Fulbright and Australian asset manager Challenger.


Mobius Capital, the new fund management venture launched by emerging markets guru Mark Mobius in May, has hired two investment analysts.

Fergus Argyle became a senior investment analyst at the firm on July 16, and Usman Ali started working as an investment analyst on July 2. Both are based in London and report to all three founding partners: Mark Mobius, Carlos Hardenberg and Greg Konieczny, a spokesman for Mobius Capital said.

Argyle was previously an investment analyst based at the London office of Somerset Capital Management. He left the company in June 2018 and his coverage has been absorbed by the existing investment team, a Somerset spokesman said.

Ali was a sustainable investment analyst working on a consultancy basis for East Capital, a Swedish emerging and frontier markets specialist. East Capital did not respond to AsianInvestor’s query about his departure.


US asset manager Franklin Templeton Investments has named Andrew Ness as portfolio manager on its global emerging markets (GEM) investment team, part of Franklin Templeton emerging markets equity (FTEME) group.

Andrew Ness

Ness, who will be based in Edinburgh, will also work as portfolio manager at Templeton Emerging Markets Investment Trust (TEMIT), Franklin Templeton’s UK-based investment trust.

He will start both roles on September 17, working alongside Singapore-based Chetan Seghal, director of portfolio management for GEM and small cap strategies for FTEME.

Ness will report to Singapore-based Manraj Sekhon, chief investment officer for FTEME, for both roles.

He fills a vacancy left by Carlos Hardenberg, though the job responsibilities and scope of work have shifted so the hire is not a direct replacement, a Franklin Templeton spokeswoman said.

Hardenberg left Franklin Templeton in March to co-found Mobius Capital Partners with former Franklin Templeton colleagues Mark Mobius and Greg Konieczny.

Ness was most recently co-manager of global emerging markets strategy at UK fund house Martin Currie. Martin Currie did not respond to AsianInvestor queries on Ness’ exit date, whether a replacement had been named yet, or who was covering his former duties in the interim.


Khazanah has said all members of its board of directors, including the managing director, have offered to resign.

This was done in order to facilitate a smooth and orderly transition under the new government, the Malaysian state fund said in a statement on Thursday.

“We will issue a further statement once we have further details of the reconstitution of the board,” the statement read.

The state fund has been tainted by the corruption scandal centred on another state fund, 1MDB, and was widely expected to see significant changes under the newly elected government of Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamed.


UK fund house Aviva Investors has appointed Divyesh Bhana as client solutions director for Australia.

Divyesh Bhana

Bhana took up the Sydney-based role on July 23, and is responsible for growing the Australian institutional investor business, an Aviva spokeswoman said.

The role is newly created, and he reports to Australia managing director Brett Jackson.

Prior to Bhana’s appointment, Jackson oversaw the growth of institutional business in the region, an Aviva spokeswoman said.

Bhana was most recently senior consultant at US asset manager Russell Investments in Sydney. He left the firm in June and no replacement has  yet been named, a Russell Investments spokesman said.


Credit Suisse has promoted Michael Marr to head of private banking for Australia, effective August 1.

Marr will continue to be based in Sydney and report to Alex Wade, head of developed and emerging Asia for private banking, and John Knox, chief executive officer for Australia.

Wade had previously been head of private banking in Australia since January 2016, alongside his regional role.

Marr is now a market leader with Credit Suisse Private Banking Australia, overseeing relationship management teams in Sydney and Melbourne. Marr will continue his previous duties alongside his new role, a spokeswoman for Credit Suisse said.


State Street Global Advisors (SSGA) has appointed Han Jiho as managing director and senior quantitative researcher for fixed income, cash and currency.

Hong Kong-based Han took up his duties on July 24 and reports to Ramu Thiagarajan, Boston-based global head of fixed income, cash and currency research.

Han is responsible for developing and implementing quantitative fixed income and currency strategies, as well as designing portfolio management tools globally. Before he joined, the relative quantitative fixed income and currency models were handled by teams in the US and London, an SSGA spokeswoman said.

He was previously a Hong Kong-based vice-president and quantitative analyst in the fixed income team at Alliance Bernstein, a position he left on July 2. A search for his replacement is under way, an Alliance Bernstein spokesman said.


UBS has appointed Errie Maksum as desk head for its Southeast Asian wealth management team based in Singapore, effective July 22.

Maksum joins from Bank of Singapore, where he was market head for Indonesia. He has previously worked for Citi, Credit Suisse and Standard Chartered.

At UBS, Maksum will report to Yang Vi Sun, managing director for wealth management Southeast Asia. UBS did not respond to requests for comment on who Maksum replaced.

Bank of Singapore did not respond to queries from AsianInvestor.


Vinod Eashwar has joined DBS Private Bank as a senior vice-president in the global South Asian team, covering clients in the Middle East and Asia.

The Singapore-based bank did not say whether Eashwar was a replacement or joining in a new role or who he reports to. He took up his duties in May.

Eashwar was previously a member of Citi’s consumer wealth division, where he was the market manager on the global Indian team, with coverage of Singapore, Malaysia, India and Saudi Arabia. Prior to this stint, he was the regional investment counsellor and head of mutual fund products for Citi’s non-resident Indian (NRI) business.

The global Indian team is part of the international personal bank business segment, which falls under the consumer wealth business of Citi, a spokeswoman for the bank said.

She confirmed Eashwar had left but offered no further details.


Butterfield, a Bermuda-based bank and wealth manager, has named Brian Balleine as its Asia head. This follows its establishment of a trust company in Singapore in March as part of its acquisition of Deutsche Bank Global Trust Solutions’ global (ex-US) business.

Balleine, previously managing director of Butterfield Trust in the Cayman Islands, has worked extensively with ultra-high-net-worth families and their advisers on wealth planning solutions, the firm said in a statement.

Nick Harwood was the former leader of Deutsche Bank’s GTS team in Singapore. He is now a director and heads Butterfield’s client services team in the city-state, where the firm has 16 staff. 

Butterfield Trust’s Singapore office is its seventh globally. The firm provides fiduciary structures and administrative services to private clients and family offices, as well as pension plans and mutual funds.


LJ Partnership, a London-headquartered private wealth and real estate partnership backed by the Peterson group, a family- owned private company based in Hong Kong, has named two new partners after a New York-based family office acquired a 40% stake in the business.

To be rebranded as Alvarium Investments in 2019, LJ Partnership is planning new offices in markets including New York, Singapore, Sydney and Auckland, according to a press release.

Ken Costa, formerly chairman of Lazard International, and Ali Bouzarif, the former head of investment execution at the Qatar Investment Authority, will become partners and shareholders in the group, the statement said.

LJ Partnership has also announced additional senior management changes. Andrew Williams has changed his role from chief executive officer to co-chairman and is now focused on driving the firm’s growth in Asia and Australasia. Alexander de Meyer, formerly chief operating officer, will succeed Williams as chief executive.

LJ Partnership and Lazard International did not immediately reply to AsianInvestor’s queries for further details on the moves.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor last week:

Vanguard Singapore: A casualty of high-fee fund selling

T. Rowe Price raids rivals for Asia buildout

Alexa Lam hiring “coup” to boost fund lobby in Asia