Weekly roundup of people news, March 13

MPFA appoints new chairman; Credit Suisse hires CEO from Prudential; Vanguard promotes executives; Lim takes on Arena founder; Nedbank boosts Dubai team with hire; and Towers makes insurance appointment.
Weekly roundup of people news, March 13

MPFA appoints new chairman
The Hong Kong Mandatory Provident Fund Schemes Authority (MPFA) will appoint David Wong as its new chairman from March 17. He will replace Anna Wu, who has been MPFA chairwoman since March 2009, having served three two-year terms.

Wong is chairman of two Hong Kong government bodies - the Protection of Wages on Insolvency Fund Board, and the Land and Development Advisory Committee. He is also a non-official member of Hong Kong’s Economic Development Commission, the Commission on Poverty and the Exchange Fund Advisory Committee under the Hong Kong Monetary Authority.

Wong is currently chairman of the Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong (BPF), a non-political think tank, and managing director of United Overseas Investments. He serves as an independent non-executive director on the boards of six Hong Kong listed-companies. However, he had not been involved in the MPFA before this appointment.

During the annual meeting of the National People's Congress in Beijing on Tuesday, Wong, an economist, was asked by local media about his experience in pensions; he said he had been working in pension insurance research for 30 years.

Wong criticised Hong Kong’s MPF system in 2011, suggesting that the scheme needed to be revamped because the management fees were too high. He also suggested the scheme could learn from the Singapore model, which lets members draw on their pension accounts to purchase homes before reaching retirement age.

As of the end of 2014, total net asset values of the 38 registered schemes amounted to HK$565 billion. The MPF system now provides retirement coverage to more than 2.5 million of Hong Kong’s employees.

Prior to her appointment as chairwoman, Wu was one of the founding non-executive directors of the MPFA from 1998 to 2005. Wu is one of the non-official members of the Hong Kong government’s Executive Council. She is also a member of the International Advisory Board of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre.

Credit Suisse poaches CEO from Prudential
The new group CEO of Credit Suisse will be Tidjane Thiam, the firm has announced. The Swiss bank's appointment was announced on March 10. London-based Thiam is currently group CEO of UK insurer Prudential, a role which he assumed in October 2009. He first joined Prudential as chief financial officer in 2008 after working for UK insurer Aviva between 2002-2008. Before that he worked for consulting company McKinsey & Co and as Côte d’Ivoire’s minister of planning and development.

Current Credit Suisse CEO Brady Dougan is to step down at the end of June 2015 and will oversee Thiam’s transition to the new role in the interim period. A Credit Suisse spokesman said the company was not aware of Dougan's future plans, and in media reports Dougan said he had not decided on his next move post-Credit Suisse.

Dougan has been Credit Suisse’s group CEO since 2007. Before that, he was CEO of Credit Suisse First Boston’s (CSFB) investment banking division (2005-2007), CEO of CSFB (2004-05) before its investment banking division was merged with Credit Suisse’s, global head of CSFB’s securities business (2001-04), and head of CSFB’s equities business (1996-2001). Dougan joined CSFB in 1990.

Vanguard appoints new Australia MD
The ETF specialist Vanguard has appointed Colin Kelton to the position of Australia managing director.

Kelton, who is currently head of retail marketing and communications for the US market, will have responsibility for all aspects of management, distribution and operations in Vanguard’s Australian business.

A Vanguard spokesman said that Kelton will transition into his role from mid-year onwards. He reports to James Norris, international operations managing director.

Kelton joined Vanguard in 1990 as a service associate and has held various positions within the retail business.

He will replace John James, the current Australia MD, who is being promoted to Europe MD, assuming responsibility for the management, distribution and operations of Vanguard’s UK and continental European businesses.

James joined Vanguard at its US headquarters in 2008 as head of broker-dealer sales and distribution, and then moved to the International division, where he was the global business lead for the group's strategic review of its non-US business and distribution efforts. In 2010, James returned to Australia to lead Vanguard's Australian operation.

Lim recruits Arena founder
Multi-strategy hedge fund manager Lim Advisors has hired Toby Bartlett to be a portfolio manager in its Hong Kong office. Bartlett will join the firm in early April.

The announcement follows the closure of Bartlett’s $50 million hedge fund Arena Capital. Prior to starting up Arena Capital, Bartlett worked in Hong Kong as a portfolio manager for Highbridge Capital (2009-11) and in Japan as a portfolio manager for Citadel Investment (2007-09) and Fidelity Investments (2004-07).

Also joining from Arena Capital are Ayumu Kuroda and Yukimi Oda, who started working at Lim Advisors’ Hong Kong and Tokyo offices respectively as analysts in March. At Arena they were also analysts. Together Bartlett, Kuroda and Oda will manage a Japan-focused equity market neutral strategy.

Historically, approximately 30% of Lim’s AUM has been invested in Japanese strategies. Lim's AUM is around $2 billion.

Personal banker joins Nedbank’s Dubai team
The Dubai-based client support team at Nedbank Private Wealth has hired Greg Smith as personal banker due to strong growth across the Middle East.  He was hired from the private banking unit of Lloyds TSB in Dubai. Smith has not replaced anyone, but is part of the firm’s expansion.

Smith has more than seven years’ experience in the financial services industry in Dubai and has worked in various business development and advisory positions.

He reports to Gordon Crowe, who heads the high-net-worth individuals client support team. The overall support team, which is the first port of call for day-to-day client services, is split between the Isle of Man (30 employees) and the Middle East (6 employees).

Greg Horton, executive head of Nedbank Private Wealth International, said: “The appointment of our additional support team serves to further demonstrate our long-term commitment to the region and will ensure the continued development of our international presence alongside our extensive range of integrated banking, investment and fiduciary services.”

Towers makes senior insurance hire
Sam Farrimond started in the newly-created role of Asia-Pacific deputy leader of Towers Watson’s insurance management consultancy (IMC) practice on February 23. The Singapore-based appointment was announced on March 10. Farrimond joined the professional services company from Shoreline Asia, a consultancy firm he founded in 2009. Farrimond reports to Asia-Pacific regional director and leader of the IMC practice, Keith Brooks, whose appointment was announced on November 27 last year, as reported.

Other people moves reported in the past week on AsianInvestor:

HSBC's Patrice Conxicoeur to head up AM in Japan

BNPP IP makes senior hires, to launch new funds

JP Morgan Private Bank replaces key fund selector

Invesco names new head for institutions, investments

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