Weekly roundup of people news, Mar 15

SSGA's Apac ETF research head exits; Future Fund appoints PE head; Manulife Real Estate gets Asia lead; BNP Paribas Cardif names new Asia chief; Nomura AM gets new CEO; and more.
Weekly roundup of people news, Mar 15


Matt Arnold, head of ETF strategy and research for Asia Pacific and head of SPDR ETFs Singapore at State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), left the firm last month, AsianInvestor understands.

Arnold's departure comes as the asset manager embarked on a cost-savings drive in January that involves cutting 1,500 employees globally and automating more of its business.

SSGA declined to comment on his departure or whether a replacement for Arnold in his research and strategy role will be named.

AsianInvestor understands Meaghan Victor, head of SPDR ETFs in Australia, has taken on an expanded role to include Singapore.

Other recent senior departures from the group include those of Charles Kwok, Asia ex-Japan head of intermediaries at SSGA, and from State Street's asset servicing business Seck Wai Kwong, Asia-Pacific CEO and Kevin Wong, head of sector solutions for Asia Pacific.


Australia-based Future Fund has appointed Alicia Gregory as head of private equity, effective April.

Based in Sydney, Gregory will report to Wendy Norris, deputy chief investment officer for private markets. Norris is based in Melbourne, a Future Fund spokesman told AsianInvestor.

Gregory joins Future Fund from MLC Investment Management, which she has worked since April 2016, according to her Linkedin profile.

She replaces Steve Byrom, who left the sovereign wealth fund in December 2018 to set up his own business, the spokesman added. 

At Future Fund, Gregory will head the private equity team, manage relationships with external partners and manage the fund’s global private equity portfolio.

 MLC Investment Management could not be reached for more details.


Manulife Real Estate (RE) has appointed Kenneth Tsang to the newly created position of head of real estate asset management for Asia. 

Based in Hong Kong, Tsang reports to Ted Willcocks, global head of asset management for real estate.

Tsang was previously general manager for property at KHI Holdings Group, and a member of the company's management team, where he co-led the acquisition, asset management and divestment of real estate assets in Australia, China, Hong Kong, Japan and the UK.

He has also previously worked with JP Morgan Asset Management Real Assets (Asia).

At Manulife RE, Tsang will oversee the firm's growing real estate Investments in Asia, including Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Melbourne and Sydney, a press statement said.

Tsang’s appointment is aimed at strengthening the company’s growth strategy in Asia, where it recently expanded its $2 billion footprint with strategic CBD office acquisitions in Melbourne, Australia and Singapore.

Manulife did not immediately respond to AsianInvestor queries on Tsang's start date or who was handling real estate investments in Asia before Tsang's appointment.


BNP Paribas Cardif, the insurance arm of French firm BNP Paribas, has announced that See See Ooi will succeed Vincent Sussfeld as chief executive officer for Asia, effective April 15. 

In her new role, Ooi will lead the continued development of BNP Paribas Cardif’s business in the region, a statement outlined. Based in Hong Kong, she will report to Jean-Bertrand Laroche, deputy CEO of BNP Paribas Cardif for international markets. She also joins BNP Paribas Cardif’s executive committee.

Ooi joined BNP Paribas Cardif in 2014 as deputy CEO for Asia and later took on additional responsibilities as country manager of BNP Paribas Cardif in Taiwan in 2016.

AsianInvestor understands that Ooi wil continue in her role as country manager for Taiwan, while an announcement will be made about the deputy CEO for Asia role in due course.

Sussfeld, meanwhile, will return to BNP Paribas Cardif’s head office in France and take on the role of chief actuary.


Alex Sun has joined SSGA as Shanghai-based head of China on February 25.

Alex Sun

In addition to this newly created role, Sun will also become head of SSGA’s wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) for investment management in China, which received regulatory approval in December.

Sun reports to June Wong, Hong Kong-based head of Asia ex-Japan.  

He joined SSGA from HSBC Jintrust Fund Management, HSBC Global Asset Management's joint venture in China, where he was assistant general manager and head of wholesale business, a spokesman for HSBC Jintrust said.

Raelin Jia, deputy head of wholesale business was subsequently promoted to head of wholesale business, the spokesman said. In her new role, she reports to Frank Yan, deputy general manager of HSBC Jintrust, he added.


Nomura Asset Management (AM) has promoted Junko Nakagawa to chief executive, making her the first female executive to take on the role at the Japanese asset manager.

Based in Tokyo, Nakagawa, who is currently executive managing director, will assume her new role on April 1.

She succeeds Kunio Watanabe, who will become executive chairman for the Americas Nomura, parent company Nomura Holdings said in a statement.

Nakagawa joined Japan-based Nomura Group in 2008 as president of its healthcare arm, Nomura Healthcare. She became executive managing director of Nomura AM in 2017. Nomura AM had approximately $458 billion in total assets under management at the end of 2018.


After six years of leading Nikko Asset Management, Takumi Shibata will step down as president, chairman and chief executive on April 1.

Hideo Abe and Junichi Sayato will be appointed as representative directors and co-chief executive officers. Abe will also take on the title of president from Shibata, while Sayato will take on the role of chairman.

Shibata joined the firm in July 2013 as executive chairman, going on to become president and chief executive officer in January 2014.


Value Partners has appointed Cheah Cheng Hye and Louis Chun Ki So as co-chairmen of the Hong Kong-based asset manager on March 12.

Cheah Cheng Hye

Currently, Cheah is chairman and So is deputy chairman of the firm. Both are co-chief investment officers.

While Cheah will maintain his role in steering the firm’s overall business and investment strategies, while So will be responsible for daily operations of the company.

Both of them are based in Hong Kong, a spokesman told AsianInvestor.

Earlier this week, the asset manager announced net profit of HK$229.5 million ($29.2 million) for 2018, down 89% from a year ago.


UBS Asset Management has appointed Joseph Azelby as head of its real estate and private markets business. However, it did not say when he joined the Swiss asset manager.

Azelby will lead the asset manager's $100 billion global investment platform which operates out of 14 countries and has around 550 employees worldwide, including Asian-based investors.

Azelby succeeds Thomas Wels, who has been appointed divisional vice chairman for UBS AM. He will be based in New York and report to Ulrich Koerner, president of UBS AM and UBS Group for Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Most recently, Azelby was a senior partner and head of real assets at Apollo Global Management. Prior to that, he was chief executive officer at JP Morgan’s global real assets business for 18 years. 

Apollo GM did not immediately respond to AsianInvestor queries on when Azelby left or whether he has been replaced.


Aviva Investors, the global asset management unit of insurer Aviva, has chosen Paul LaCoursiere for the newly created role of global head of ESG research within its global responsible investment team.

Paul LaCoursiere

LaCoursiere will be responsible for the corporate ESG research process at Aviva Investors, including the integration and monitoring of ESG criteria within equities and credit. He will jointly lead the research team with Mirza Baig, global head of governance.

For the last three years, LaCoursiere has been global head of corporate research at Aviva Investors. LaCoursiere will be based in London and report to Steve Waygood, chief investment officer. 

Aviva Investors did not immediately respond to an AsianInvestor query on whether LaCoursiere will retain his corporate research role. 


British asset management group Standard Life Aberdeen has, as of March 13, dissolved its co-chief executive model, naming Keith Skeoch as sole CEO and Martin Gilbert as group vice chairman and chairman of Aberdeen Standard Investments.

Martin Gilbert

The joint leadership structure had been the subject of much scepticism and scrutiny since the firm was formed by the merger of Aberdeen Asset Management and Standard Life in 2017.

Amid a challenging environment for fund managers, Standard Life Aberdeen suffered fund outflows of £40.9 billion ($53 billion) last year and £32.9 billion in 2017, according to research house Morningstar. The group had £551.5 billion as of December 31, down 9.3% from £608.1 billion at the end of 2017.

The firm has 247 staff in Asia Pacific, a spokesman told AsianInvestor, but he said he could not provide a pre-merger figure for its headcount in the region.


Credit Suisse has named Josephine Yap as head of its representative office in the Philippines, effective March 12.

Josephine Yap

Based in Manila, Yap reports to Christian Senn, market group head of the bank’s Philippines office.

The bank opened the representative office in April 2018, making Yap the first head of the office, a spokeswoman told AsianInvestor.

Before joining Credit Suisse as director in July 2018, Yap had worked at Metropolitan Bank and Trust Company as head of private wealth countryside, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Credit Suisse did not respond to an AsianInvestor query confirming Yap's title after joining the private bank. 


HSBC Private Bank has hired two senior executives to lead its ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) business.

Gabriel Tam was appointed as regional head of UHNW solutions for Asia, while Erik Bergqvist was appointed as head of the UHNW segment management. Both of them are based in Hong Kong and joined the bank at the end of 2018.

They are newly created roles to ensure a renewed focus on the UHNW segment, a company spokesman said. He declined to comment on their reporting lines and who were responsible earlier for the duties now taken up by them.

Tam was most recently the Asia Pacific head of equity derivatives distribution at Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BAML) in Hong Kong. BAML declined to comment on his departure and if anyone has replaced Tam.

Bergqvist was previously the head of strategic revenue development and pricing for Asia Pacific at Julius Baer, a position he left in August last year, according to his LinkedIn profile. A person familiar with the situation, however, said Bergqvist left the private bank almost a year ago. Julius Baer declined to comment on who replaced him at the private bank.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor last week:

State Street’s client team in HK hit amid staff cuts


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