Manulife’s head of fund selection resigns

Ajay Saratchandran, head of investment management services for Asia at Manulife in Hong Kong, has left the firm. He is said to have gone back to Singapore but it could not be ascertained whether he has joined a new company.

A Manulife spokeswoman confirmed Saratchandran's departure, adding that Raymond Kong, an 18-year veteran of Manulife, has joined the Asia investment management services team as a senior member in June. He is also named as interim head.

Saratchandran joined Manulife in November 2013 and left in May this year. He was in charge of investment manager due diligence, and portfolio construction and investment consulting for the region.

Prior to Manulife, he was the director of mutual funds, ETF and alternatives at ANZ’s wealth business. Based in Singapore, he spent more than four years at the bank, heading due diligence and portfolio construction and strategy.

Saratchandran was a research consultant previously, having worked at Mercer Investment Consulting responsible for manager research and fund selection from 2006 to 2009.

Selina Sia joins Credit Suisse as China research head

Credit Suisse Private Banking & Wealth Management has announced today the appointment of Selina Sia as head of greater China equity research. Based in Hong Kong, Sia will report to Wingson Cheng, the firm’s Asia Pacific head of research. She was on board at the end of June.

Sia was most recently the head of regional consumer research at Mirae Asset Securities (HK), where she served from 2009-2012, according to her licence record at the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission.

Prior to that, Sia was an equity analyst at UBS Securities Asia, CIMB Securities and Bank of China International Research during 2003-2007. She covered H and A-share listed consumer companies, and she also covered property and industrial small cap sector companies. 

Blackstone finds new senior director and chairman for China

Zhang Liping is to join Blackstone as a senior managing director and Greater China chairman, the company announced on July 4. A spokeswoman for the firm said Zhang starts in the role “in the autumn, but no specified date is given”.

The $300 billion-plus AUM alternatives asset manager has been without a Greater China chairman since Antony Leung moved over to become group CEO of Hong Kong-based Nan Fung Group in November 2013.

Leung was Hong Kong’s financial secretary before joining Blackstone. Prior to that, he was JP Morgan Chase’s Asia chairman.

Zhang joins from Credit Suisse, where was Greater China co-CEO. Zhang started his career at China’s Ministry of Foreign Trade & Economic Cooperation in the early 1980s. He was an executive director of Build King Holdings and China Resources & Transportation Group (both 1996-98) and has served as independent non-executive director of Anhui Expressway (1996-2005), Zhejiang Expressway (2005-12) and China Vanke (2010-present). Zhang joined Credit Suisse in 2004.

He held various investment banking roles with Dresdner Bank and Merrill Lynch before serving as co-managing director of Pacific Concord Holdings (2001-2003) and CEO of animated film-maker Imagi International Holdings (February-September 2004).

Credit Suisse’s Hong Kong CEO, Neil Harvey – who was Greater China co-CEO alongside Zhang – has become sole Greater China CEO.

Contineo appoints data scientist to new research role

Structured products network Contineo announced the appointment of data scientist Ada Tong on July 8. Tong started in the newly created role on July 2 while continuing in her previous role as analytics and data science consultant with Cooper Tong Consulting.

Contineo started to generate data for Tong to analyse after going live on June 23. “This will be the very first time anyone has been able to quantify the landscape for equity structured products,” said Contineo’s head Mark Munoz.

Tong previously worked in Australia as an actuarial consultant with PwC (2006-11) and analytics consultant with Quantium (2011-12). In Hong Kong, she has worked for Asia Miles (2013-14), DemystData (2014-15) and Cooper Tong Consulting (May 2015-present).

Lee joins Decker to develop US business

Asia-focused broker Decker & Co announced on July 6 that Cecilia Lee has joined its New York office as head of business development for the US. Lee joins from CIMB Securities where she worked in equity sales in Singapore and Hong Kong between June 2007 and February 2015. Prior to that Lee worked for Lehman Brothers in New York, Tokyo and Seoul between September 1998-March 2007 also in equity sales.

Lee’s recruitment is part of an expansion at Decker & Co – which has offices in Bangkok, New York and Menlo Park. The firm plans to add a further five Asia staff by the end of July, to the five it has already recruited in recent months.

“Our investment in Asia-based personnel reflects the interest of global investors focused on ASEAN and Frontier Asia” said Mark Decker, the firm’s founder and CEO.

Sidley Austin makes LA hire

Former Beijing-based lawyer Joel H. Rothstein joined law firm Sidley Austin’s Los Angeles office as a partner in the real estate group on June 23.

Prior to that Rothstein was a partner at Paul Hastings’ Beijing and Los Angeles offices. He led the expansion of Paul Hastings’ Asia real estate practice and was its longest serving real estate attorney in Asia.

At Sidley Austin, he will focus on Asia-sourced investments into the US and Europe.

David Blumenfeld leads Paul Hastings’ Asia real estate practice and divides his time between the law firm’s Hong Kong and Shanghai offices.  

Other people moves reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Blair Pickerell retires, takes non-exec role with Principal

BMO hires new head of Asian private banking business