Weekly roundup of people news, June 18

Friends investment chief resigns; Manulife names distribution head; Vontobel appoints products CEO; BNP boosts NRI team; Alfi names new chairman; BNY appoints services chief; and Mitsubishi names rates head.
Weekly roundup of people news, June 18

Friends Provident investment chief resigns
Friends Provident International's (FPI) investment chief is leaving the company and a new chairman and chief executive have been appointed. London-based Colin Tipping, currently FPI investment director, has decided to leave the company “to pursue external opportunities”, an FPI spokesperson said. He will stay on for a transitional period to provide a handover to Mark Rebuck, life capabilities director at Aviva Global Life.

Tipping joined Friends Provident in 2011, prior to which he spent five years at BlackRock (formerly Barclays Global Investors) as head of institutional wholesale.

Hong Kong-based Chris Wei will become chairman on July 1 at the same time as Singapore-based Khor Hock Seng becomes CEO of FPI. This will assume their newly-created positions alongside their current roles at UK parent company Aviva. John Van Der Wielen, currently executive chairman of FPI, will step down on 30 June 2015.

FPI’s investment function will be under the oversight of Wei and Hock Seng, but they will not be involved in the day-to-day management of it.

Wei, Aviva’s CEO of global life insurance and Asia chairman, took overall responsibility for FPI in April 2015, as part of Aviva’s acquisition of Friends Life Group. Wei’s previous jobs have included CEO of Great Eastern Holdings, the listed Asian life insurer.

Hock Seng was appointed CEO of Aviva Asia in 2013, prior to which he held a number of senior jobs including CEO and managing director of AIA’s Malaysian business.

Manulife hires global head of distribution
Manulife Asset Management has appointed Claude Chene as global head of distribution. Based in London, Chene will come on board on July 1 and report to Toronto-based Kai Sotorp, president and CEO of Manulife Asset Management and global head of wealth and asset management.

Chene’s mandate in the newly-created position will be to further build the firm’s institutional distribution capabilities in Asia and North America, and lead the institutional and retail expansion into the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America markets. He will also grow the firm’s financial institutions and sovereign wealth fund distribution capabilities.

Reporting to Chene functionally are James Chen, Adam Neal and Frank Saeli, regional institutional heads of sales and relationship management in Asia, Canada and the US, respectively; as well as Brian Torrisi, global head of consultant relations, and Lauren Fleming, global head of sales administration and support. 

Chene was hired from Ignis Asset Management in London, where he was global head of distribution and a board member from October 2011 to June 2014. Prior to that, he served for 13 years at Alliance Bernstein in a number of roles in New York and London. In London, he was CEO for Europe and head of institutional sales.

Vontobel appoints financial products CEO
Dubai-based Remigio Luongo is taking over as CEO of Vontobel Financial Products (Asia Pacific) from Singapore-based Thomas Süssli on July 1. Luongo retains his existing role as head of business structuring and development.

Also on July 1, Zurich-based Gerhard Meier will assume Süssli’s role coordinating and promoting the development of Vontobel Financial Products in Asia. Meier retains his role as global head of Vontobel’s multi-issuer platform.

Both Luongo and Meier will continue to report to Zurich-based Roger Studer, head of investment banking at Vontobel.

Neither Luongo or Meier are relocating to Singapore but will travel to the city-state and Hong Kong frequently, according to a company spokesman.

Süssli is returning to Switzerland as a brigadier in the Swiss Army.

BNP Paribas WM bolsters NRI team
BNP Paribas Wealth Management has appointed Harjeet Singh as team head and senior banker for the non-resident Indians (NRI) market in Singapore and Southeast Asia. He joined earlier this month and reports to Masroor Batin, head of NRI for the region. Singh’s post is newly created as the firm seeks to further build the NRI segment with a core focus on Singapore. 

Singh was recruited from JP Morgan Private Bank Singapore, where he was an executive director. Prior to joining JP Morgan in 2011, Singh was a director for Barclays Wealth Singapore. He also had senior positions at HSBC and ABN Amro Private Bank.

Samir Bimal, head of Indian markets for the region at BNP Paribas Wealth Management, said the firm was focused on building the NRI markets. He claimed the firm had made "significant progress" in building the business, but he declined to provide evidence of that.

Bimal himself is new to BNP Paribas WM, and was recently appointed to head the onshore and offshore Indian market for the region, based in Hong Kong. Another recent appointment was Himanshu Mehta, who was made chief executive for BNP Paribas Wealth Management India last month.

Alfi appoints new chairman
The Association of Luxembourg Fund Industry (Alfi) has appointed Denise Voss as its new chairman. Voss, who started in the role on June 17, replaces Marc Saluzzi, who stepped down on the same day. Saluzzi, who became chairman in June 2011, served several two-year terms, and will no longer hold any other position at Alfi.

Luxembourg-based Voss has been Alfi’s vice-chairman for international affairs since 2011 and a member of the Alfi board of directors since 2007. Her replacement as vice-chairman has not been appointed yet, and a decision will be made at an Alfi board meeting on July 16. Voss is also chairman of the European Fund and Asset Management Association (EFAMA) investor education working group and the conducting officer at Franklin Templeton Investments.

Boutique investment bank launches
Hong Kong-based cross-border advisory firm Quintus Partners was licensed by the Securities and Futures Commission on June 12. The firm has been set up by four senior bankers who left Barclays last year.

Partner Johan Leven said that the firm will provide cross-border advice, fundraising and investment with a focus on flows between Asia and Australia, North America and Europe. It will focus on TMT (telecoms, media and technology), healthcare, consumer/retail and financial services.

Prior to working for the British investment bank, Leven worked for Goldman Sachs  between 2003-2009.

The other three partners are Ed King, Peter Ding and Erik Weiner. King previously worked for DLJ (1997-99) and Morgan Stanley (1999-2010). Ding was at accounting firm EY (1992-95), ING (1996-2001), UBS (2001-08) and Morgan Stanley (2008-10) while Weiner worked for Goldman Sachs (1987-2002), JP Morgan Securities (2002-08) and Asia-Pacific Land (2008-10).

BNY appoints global head of services division
BNY Mellon has created a new private equity and real estate (PE&RE) fund services division and appointed Dublin-based Alan Flanagan as its global head. A spokesman for the firm said there were no further appointments currently scheduled, when asked whether there would be additional hires in the wake of the creation of the division.

The spokesman pointed out that around 30% of real estate managers currently outsource their fund administration, and “we expect that rate to climb, much the way it did with hedge funds starting a decade ago”.

Flanagan had been acting head of private equity fund administration before the formation of PE&RE fund services. He was also global head of product management for BNY Mellon’s Alternative Investment Services (AIS) division. That role has been taken up by Robert Chambers, who has joined BNY Mellon from Balestra Capital, where he was a portfolio manager.

Both appointments were announced on June 15. A spokesman for the firm said that Flanagan and Chambers have already started in their new roles but declined to state when they did so.

Flanagan reports to New York-based Frank La Salla, chief executive of AIS, while Chambers reports to New York-based Nikos Kardassis, global head of product management for asset servicing.

CBRE poaches industrials team from Colliers International
Six new hires are set to join CBRE Singapore’s industrial and logistics services team on June 19.

Executive directors Brenda Ong and Rimon Ambarchi are moving over from rival real estate services firm Colliers International, where they also worked on the industrials team.

Ong and Ambarchi will report to Moray Armstrong, managing director of brokerage at CBRE Singapore. A CBRE spokeswoman said that the Singapore industrial and logistics services team has not experienced any departures.

A further three people are joining the team from Colliers International: associate director Loh Lee Fen, senior business operations manager Elsie Foo and senior manager Maverick Li.

Mitsubishi UFJ appoints rates trading chief
Mitsubishi UFJ Securities has appointed Ryosei Hayashi as its new Asia head of rates trading and sales. Hong Kong-based Hayashi assumed the position at the firm, part of Japanese financial group MUFG, on June 15.

Hayashi reports to Trent Hagland, Mitsubishi UFJ’s head of Asia and Hong Kong CEO, and London-based Atif Hayat, international head of rates.

Ryosei Hayashi will be responsible for the rates trading and sales business in Asia, with a team of eight rates specialists. 

Hayashi has been executive director and deputy head of rates at Mitsubishi UFJ Securities International, based in London, for the past five years. He joined the firm in 1994.

A spokesperson said that no replacement for Hayashi has been announced. Hayashi replaces Sandeep Mand, who has left the firm.

Search firms merge to tap Asia changes
Financial services recruitment firms Carraway Group and GreenGroup Executive have merged their search platforms to target expansion in Asian wealth management.

The platforms united at the start of this month under the Carraway Group, established by Jonathan Hollands and Daren Miller in 2008. GreenGroup Executive was founded by Nick Green in 2013.

This move will see Green focus on asset management and investment banking (including private equity) at Carraway, while Hollands continues to focus on private banking and asset management and Miller on investment banking and legal.

Hollands described the merger as an exciting period of development for the firm. “The market has changed enormously,” he told AsianInvestor. “Headcount in investment banking is down 30-40% since the peak in 2008, a quarter of what it used to be.

“Macro-economic changes will continue to drive growth in the wealth management arena, both institutional and private. We are expanding our coverage areas to match these changes in the market.”

The merger follows Carraway’s alliance with Burnham & Partners in Singapore last year.

Centuria boosts sales team
Australian fund manager Centuria Life has hired Jason Lien as a business development manager. The appointment was announced on June 15. Lien started in the newly-created Melbourne-based role on June 9, responsible for Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia. Centuria Life already has a Sydney-based business development manager covering New South Wales and Queensland.

Lein reports to Neil Rogan, the $1.7 billion AUM firm’s general manager.

Lien previously worked for Rubik Financial Group as a business development manager (June 2013 – June 2015), Macquarie Bank as a training and relationship manager (April 2008 – June 2013), as an account executive with IRESS Market Technology (February 2006 – April 2008) and before that in various financial planning roles with Citigroup, Axa and Prescott Securities.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor over the past week:

Sumitomo Mitsui AM reviews Asia distribution model

India funds industry in a good place, says Suyash

Maybank AM hires new Indonesia chief

AIA Thailand names new CIO

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