ST JAMES'S PLACE OPENS NEW SINGAPORE OFFICE 

UK-headquartered St. James’s Place Wealth Management has moved to a new Singapore office on June 28 at Raffles Place to support the firm’s growing capacity in the city, according to the company.

SJP Asia, established in 2014, now has 40 wealth management advisers and 60 staff in supporting roles working in Singapore under local chief executive officer (CEO) Nigel Preston, a spokesperson for the firm said. The company said a new office was needed because of the expansion of the team in Singapore.

Besides Singapore, the firm has two other offices in Asia — in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

The company spokesperson added that SJP Asia was focused on developing its business in current markets and was not looking to open further offices in Asia.

AVIVA INVESTORS NAMES ASIA WHOLESALE HEAD 

Aviva Investors has appointed Charles Wong, formerly of Credit Suisse Asset Management, as head of wholesale distribution for Asia, effective June 5.

Based in Singapore, Wong reports to Scott Callander, Singapore-based head of client solutions, for Asia Pacific and Middle East. Wong's responsibilities were previously covered by Callander. Wong will be responsible for growing Aviva Investors’ wholesale platform in Asia and managing relationships with private banks, family offices and financial advisers in the region. 

Before joining Aviva, Wong was vice president of institutional distribution at Credit Suisse AM. CS AM declined to comment on the departure.

ABERDEEN TO ACQUIRE VALUE PARTNERS CONCORD AM IN TAIWAN

Aberdeen Asset Management has agreed to buy Value Partners Concord Asset Management (VPC AM) in Taiwan for an undisclosed amount and subject to regulatory approval, Aberdeen said in a statement on June 29. 

Aberdeen’s entity in Taiwan, Aberdeen International Securities Investment Consulting Company (AISICCL), only holds a securities investment consulting enterprise (SICE) licence, which enables it to register the firm’s Luxembourg funds for distribution onshore.

But VPC AM has a securities investment trust enterprises (SITE) and a discretionary mandate licence, which will give Aberdeen additional qualifications to manage locally domiciled funds and onshore mandates, respectively.

Aberdeen said it had identified an opportunity in multi-assets products, which it will seek to develop following the acquisition. Multi-assets “may be of particular interest to insurance and other institutions that are seeking outcome-oriented solutions,” the firm said.

AISICCL has 28 employees and VPC AM 16. As the acquisition is pending regulatory approval and it is at an early stage, there is no concrete plan yet on people changes resulting from the acquisition yet, Michelle Maa, AISICCL general manager, told AsianInvestor.

FRANKLIN TEMPLETON SEALAND PROMOTES WU

Franklin Templeton Sealand Fund Management, a Shanghai-based joint-venture, appointed former general manager Selina Wu as its new chairman on June 21, according to a company statement.

Wu takes over from Gregory McGowan who becomes deputy chairman of the firm. Lin Yong, who joined Franklin Templeton Sealand this month, will succeed Wu as general manager and was most recently chairman and general manager of Ping An Pioneer Capital. 

Ping An Pioneer Capital said Lin left on March 1, with Zha Yanyan, a member of the board of directors, taking over his position from March 2.

TAIWAN'S NOMURA SITE APPOINTS NEW STRATEGY HEAD

Nomura Asset Management Taiwan (Nomura Site) has appointed John Yang to head its strategy and marketing division, effective from June 26.

Yang had been chief risk officer at Mirae Asset Global Investments (MAGI) Korea as of June 12 and was chairman of MAGI Taiwan from 2012 to 2015. Lee Sang-Joon, head of risk management team, will take over Yang's position, a Mirae spokesperson said.

Yang replaces Ann Chang, who left Nomura Site on June 1, a Nomura spokesperson said. AsianInvestor was unable to ascertain where Chang is going.

INSTINET NAMES ASIA CEO

Instinet, the equity execution arm of the Nomura group, has appointed Stuart Knowling as its chief executive for the Asia-Pacific region, starting from June 27, FinanceAsia reported.

Based in Hong Kong, he will report to Jonathan Kellner, CEO of Instinet Holdings. Knowling has been the chief operating officer of Instinet Asia Pacific since 2010. 

Tetsuhiro Nishi, Instinet's previous Asia-Pacific CEO, is taking on a new role within Nomura as head of execution services, Asia ex-Japan, and is also based in Hong Kong. His appointment is subject to regulatory approval. In his new role, Nishi will report to Rig Karkhanis, head of global markets, Asia ex-Japan, and Norikazu Akedo, global head of equities, at Nomura.

STANCHART EXEC LEAVES TO SET UP FINTECH VENTURE

Zuo Lesi, head of Standard Chartered’s capital markets and structured financing business in Hong Kong, will leave the bank on June 30 to start a fintech venture backed by China’s internet and mobile giant Tencent, FinanceAsia reported.

The business will focus on asset management and asset-backed securities, focusing on opportunities in China. Zuo, who will work across Hong Kong and Shenzhen, declined to provide a name for the new venture because has not been officially launched.

Zuo has been with Standard Chartered since 2002. Before that, he worked at Bank of America and ABN Amro.

Kenneth Kwan, executive director of the capital markets solutions group, has been appointed as interim head to take over Zuo’s responsibilities at Standard Chartered.

TH REAL ESTATE ADDS DUO IN AUSTRALIA

TH Real Estate, the Australian real estate investment manager, has made two additional hires to its Australian team in the last two months, the firm said in a statement.

A spokesman said Chris Maher joined as a transaction manager on June 13 and Lisa Peng joined as a real estate investment analyst on May 15. Both are based in Sydney and report to Nick Evans, TH Real Estate's executive director and head of Australia.

Maher will be responsible for transactions, financial modelling for potential opportunities, and managing the disposal of assets identified for sale. TH declined to say whether Maher replaced anyone as transaction manager. He joins from Vicinity Group where he managed real estate transactions. Vicinity didn't respond to a request for comment by press time.

In his newly-created role, Peng is responsible for providing analytical support, research, and financial analysis across the firm’s business in Australia, including equity investment and asset management. Peng joins from St George Bank, where she was a real estate analyst. St George Bank didn't respond to a request for comment by press time.

PICTET ALTERNATIVE ADVISORS APPOINTS HEAD OF HEDGE FUNDS

Pictet Alternative Advisors (PAA) has appointed Heinrich Merz as head of hedge funds, effective June 1.

Based in Geneva he will report to Nicolas Campiche, PAA's CEO, and lead a 14-strong team managing €9.1 billion of hedge fund assets. He replaced Jean-Pierre Selvatico, who left the firm in December to join Systematica Investments as head of trading and counterparty management, according to Selvatico's LinkedIn page.

Before joining Pictet, Merz was chief investment officer at Amundi Alternative Investments, overseeing more than €5.6 billion ($6.39 billion) in alternative assets for institutional clients. Amundi didn't respond to a request for comment by press time. He has also worked for Permal Investment Management and Concordia Advisors.

AMUNDI NAMES ASIA COUNTRY HEADS AFTER PIONEER ACQUISITION

Amundi last week revealed its renewed organisational structure following the acquisition of Pioneer Investments, which will be finalised on July 3.

In Asia, the firm's Japan market division will be led by Julien Fontaine, North Asia by Zhong Xiaofeng, and Southeast Asia by Jack Lin. Its Middle East market operations will be led by Nesreen Srouji.

Before the acquisition, Fontaine was president of Amundi Japan and Zhong was chief executive of Amundi Hong Kong and North Asia (ex-Japan). Lin was head of Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa at Pioneer. Amundi declined to provide further comments for the story.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor in the past week:

Nikko AM creates global operations head role

Credit manager Muzinich opens Asia office