LEAD EQUITY FUND PM AND ANALYST EXIT ALLIANZGI

Allianz Global Investors has seen two recent departures from its Asia equity team in Hong Kong. Woo Fook-Cheong was portfolio manager and Karen Chan was senior research analyst of the Market Neutral Asian Equity fund. 

April 29 was the last working day at AllianzGI for both executives. They had joined in 2007 and 2004, respectively.

A spokeswoman told AsianInvestor that George Liu, Asia head of risk strategy and derivatives, had taken over from Woo as lead manager of the strategy, which was $7.15 million in size as of May 14, according to Bloomberg.

The departures come as AllianzGI has laid off its Asia-Pacific multi-asset chief investment officer, Stefan Nixel, along with his counterpart in the US.

WESTERN AM HIRES BLACKROCK'S KOREA INSTO COVERAGE HEAD

US fixed income fund manager Western Asset Management has hired John Kim from BlackRock to become a client service executive, responsible initially for covering Korean institutional investors and eventually other markets too.

John Kim

Kim, who was previously based in Seoul as head of institutional business for BlackRock Korea, started in the new role on May 6. He will move with his family to Western AM’s Singapore regional headquarters as soon as is practical, given the city state’s lockdown in the face of renewed coronavirus cases.

Kim reports to Michael Dale, head of client service and marketing for Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Western AM.

“John brings a fantastic array of experience in the investment management industry over the last two decades,” Dale told AsianInvestor. “Korea’s a big opportunity for us to raise assets and grow accordingly, given its growing retirement funds, increasing insurance company assets and a massive public pension investor too.”

He added that while Kim will initially oversee institutional clients in Korea, his remit would expand to other key markets, declining to offer more details. Before working at BlackRock, Kim was a senior manager of the external fund management team at the Bank of Korea.

Western AM is one of the investment management arms of Legg Mason. With the addition of Kim, it has 23 individuals employed in the Asia-Pacific region. Before Kim’s appointment coverage of Korea was split between other members, with Dale overseeing the lion’s share of clients.

A spokeswoman for BlackRock declined to comment on how it would cover Kim’s vacant position. 

MALAYSIA’S PNB MAKES WFH A PERMANENT OPTION

Working from home (WFH) is now a permanent option at Permodalan Nasional Berhad (PNB), the state-linked Malaysian fund manager.

Jalil Rasheed

Chief executive Jalil Rasheed spoke of the decision via tweets – appropriately enough, given that Twitter has just made a similar move.

Rasheed, appointed by the $72 billion fund in September, said: “We have worked well past two months, no reason this cannot continue, as [the] new norm.

“Ultimately it’s all about trust, and managing your own hours. The decision is yours. WFH is not for everybody.

The comments came soon after PNB unveiled its three-year strategic plan on May 4, which includes ambitious targets for expanding and diversifying the overseas investments.  

BNY MELLON REPLACES KOREA HEAD

BNY Mellon has hired Park Hyon Joo from Standard Chartered as its country executive for Korea, replacing Ji Sang Don who is retiring after three years in the role.

“Korea is a strategic market for BNY Mellon. We continue to see opportunities to further expand our local capabilities in the years ahead,” a spokeswoman for BNY Mellon said, in response to questions about Park’s appointment.

Park will take over the reins at the Seoul office on June 1, with Ji’s last day being May 31. She reports to David Cruikshank, BNY Mellon’s chairman of Asia Pacific, and will be based in Seoul. 

Previously Park had worked as a senior executive vice president at Standard Chartered in Korea for 15 years. She had also previously worked at Citibank and HSBC and had an earlier stint at Standard Chartered, during a 25 year career that included being stints in London and Hong Kong.

Ji, meanwhile, had preceded his three year stint at BNY Mellon with a 20 year career at JP Morgan Chase. 

BNY Mellon has had an office in Korea since 1988. Last year it also opened a representative office in Jeonju, to help service custody service work it has received from the National Pension Service.

A spokesperson for Standard Chartered did not respond to questions on how it would cover Park’s role.

JP MORGAN AM EXPANDS ETF TEAM

JP Morgan Asset Management has expanded its exchange-traded funds team in Hong Kong by hiring fixed income ETF specialist Rory Caines from BlackRock.

Rory Caines

He is tasked with helping advance the firm’s ETF product strategy and building client relationships in Asia Pacific. He reports to Sean Cunningham, head of Asia ETFs.

Caines joined in late April after six years with Blackrock’s iShares business in Hong Kong, most recently as vice president for capital markets and fixed income ETFs. Before that he was in BlackRock’s training programme.

BlackRock did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

JP Morgan AM started with one ETF team member in Asia 18 months ago, and Caines brings the headcount to four, said a spokeswoman. It is building the team to support Asian investors’ increasing demand for ETF solutions, she added.

JP Morgan AM has a total of 58 ETFs listed across Europe and the US, comprising $28 billion in assets as of May 8.

DEUTSCHE BANK HIRES FIRST APAC ESG HEAD

Deutsche Bank has appointed sustainable investment veteran Kamran Khan in Singapore as its first head of ESG for Asia Pacific. He will be responsible for developing and coordinating the regional business strategy around environment, social and governance factors across all business divisions in the region.

Kamran Khan

Khan brings experience in financial markets, sustainable development, and corporate and public advisory, the bank said in a statement.

He reports to Asia Pacific chief executive Werner Steinmüller and David Lynne, Singapore chief country office, Asia Pacific head of corporate banking and Asia Pacific head of fixed income and currencies.

During his career Khan has led investments in sustainable development across Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, Deutsche added. Most recently, he founded and led an impact fund targeting companies focused on achieving UN Sustainable Development Goals.

He was also appointed by the Obama White House to serve as head of global investments and operations at the US Millennium Challenge Corporation. Previously Khan established the World Bank Group Hub in Singapore and led the World Bank’s Infrastructure Finance Practice in East Asia.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week: 

Fidelity's Asia bond head exits, sparks funds review