CIC OFFICIALLY OPENS NEW YORK OFFICE

China Investment Corporation (CIC) officially launched its representative office in New York on May 19 after almost a year-and-a-half of preparation in terms of staffing and set-up. 

Zhang Hong, the sovereign wealth fund's former compliance director, has been named chief representative officer. CIC declined to reveal the overall headcount.

The $810 billion fund registered the office in New York in December 2015, since when colleagues there have visited, and received visits from, local institutions, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor. Its former North American rep office was based in Toronto and shut down in December 2015.

The operational launch of the office is part of CIC’s strategy to expand its global reach, deepen relationships with partners and improve its investment capabilities, the firm said in a statement.

The fund said the office's functions include: researching the US economy, financial markets and regulations; maintaining and developing partnership with asset managers and other partners in North America; communicating with local government and regulators in North America; and strengthening the reputation and image of CIC as a responsible institutional investor.

VALUE PARTNERS HIRES STRATEGIC PLANNING MANAGER

Value Partners this month hired Jeffrey Wong as senior manager for strategic planning, according to his LinkedIn profile. A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong fund house confirmed he was on board but declined to comment further.

 Jeffrey Wong

Wong joined from PineBridge Investments in Hong Kong, where he was product development manager for Asia ex-Japan, according to his LinkedIn page. A source familiar with PineBridge told AsianInvestor that the firm would be announcing a new hire soon, but a spokeswoman declined to comment.

The appointment follows a management shakeup at Value Partners following the arrival of new chief executive Au King-Lun in December, as exclusively reported by AsianInvestor this month.

Wong has also worked for the Bank of China Group, at both BOCHK Asset Management and BOCI-Prudential Asset Management, as well as for Hong Kong financial advisory firm Convoy.

SSG CAPITAL HIRES EX-WELLINGTON EXECUTIVE

SSG Capital Management, a Hong Kong-based special situations investor, has hired Pamela Chai as a managing director to oversee its investment and client support functions, AsianInvestor can reveal.

She received licences for asset management and advising on securities at SSG on March 28 and will work with the investment teams and operations team to manage client administration and reporting.

SSG declined to comment on the appointment.

Chai previously worked for US fund house Wellington Management for about 10 years, most recently as client operations manager. Her licence at Wellington ceased on March 3. A spokeswoman for the firm declined to comment.

Before that Chai spent 13 years at asset management and servicing firm Northern Trust.

VANGUARD FACES SCEPTICISM AMID WFOE OPENING

US fund manager Vanguard has appointed executives for its newly launched wholly foreign-owned enterprise (WFOE) in Shanghai, which will conduct investment management and related services.

The firm has opened a 1,271-square-metre office in the Shanghai World Trade Center, initially with a staff of five, a number that it expects to rise to 15 by end-2017.

Vanguard is likely soon to register as a local private fund manager, wrote Z-Ben Advisors in an alert on Thursday (though some think that the asset manager may skip that stage and await direct access to the mutual fund market).

In any case, the Shanghai-based consultancy said it would be an uphill fight for Vanguard to attract demand and fund flows.

"After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and again, expecting a different result," said Z-Ben. "So, if Vanguard’s approach hasn’t yet worked in Hong Kong, then the odds aren’t the best for attempting to do the same in the Mainland."

The WFOE’s legal representative is Charles Lin, Vanguard’s Hong Kong-based head of China, and the general manager is Clare Zhao, the firm’s head of China institutional business based in Shanghai. Both appointments have been effective since November.

Vanguard has already had a representative office in Beijing since 2014 to facilitate communication between its institutional clients in China and its Hong Kong office and to work with regulators.

Vanguard's chief executive, Bill McNabb, had told AsianInvestor in October that it was looking to set up a WFOE and another office.

LOMBARD ODIER NAMES NEW ASIA CHAIRMAN AND CEO

 

Lombard Odier has appointed Vincent Magnenat as its new Asia chief executive, succeeding Vincent Duhamel, who will become the Swiss private bank’s Asia chairman, effective on July 1. Magnenat also retains the roles of Singapore CEO and Asia head of private banking.

The previous Asia chairman was Hugo Bänziger, a managing partner at Lombard Odier, who will remain on the board.

DEUTSCHE WM POACHES GREATER CHINA TEAM FROM BEA

Deutsche Bank Wealth Management has lured a quartet from Hong Kong-based Bank of East Asia (BEA) to cover clients in greater China.

Effective from May 25, the team will be led by managing director Gloria Sun, and include Winson Hung, director and investment adviser; Gary Lu, vice president and relationship manager; and Nora Lai, assistant vice president and relationship manager.

The bank has seen a string of executives leave in the past year, but a spokeswoman declined to say whether its greater China client coverage had been hit by the departures.

"People come and go, and we are deliberately building out in some areas, upskilling in others and allowing natural attritions," she added. 

She said Deutsche Bank WM had close to 200 relationship managers in Asia Pacific, but declined to provide the breakdown for greater China.

BEA declined to comment on the four departures.

HSBC PB NAMES HEAD OF SE ASIA EQUITIES

HSBC Private Bank has named Kevin Wong as head of equities for Southeast Asia. He joins from rival Bank of Singapore, where he was equities advisory team leader until mid-May. Wong has also worked at UBS and Citi.

HSBC and Bank of Singapore both declined to comment.

HK SFC APPOINTS NEW ADVISORY COMMITTEE

Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has announced the make-up of its 16-strong advisory committee for a two-year term from June 1.

Of the 12 members drawn from the industry, three are newly appointed and nine are re-appointed.

The newly appointed members are:

  • Prudence Ann Bennett, head of Asia-Pacific investment stewardship at BlackRock;
  • Ann Kung Yeung Yun-chi, deputy CEO of Bank of China (Hong Kong); and
  • Tan Yue-heng, chairman of Bocom International.

The re-appointed members are:

  • Au King-lun, CEO of Value Partners;
  • Jeffrey Chan Lap-tak, founding partner of Oriental Patron Financial;
  • Christianson Sun Wei, China CEO of China and Asia-Pacific co-CEO at Morgan Stanley;
  • Ding Chen, CEO of CSOP Asset Management;
  • Vincent Duhamel, Asia CEO (but soon to be Asia chairman) of Lombard Odier;
  • David Graham, chief regulatory officer and head of listing, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing;
  • Mark Shipman, global head of the investment funds practice at Clifford Chance;
  • Richard Winter, deputy chairman of Quam Limited; and
  • Yin Ke, CEO of Citic Securities International.

The outgoing members are: 

  • Brian David Li Man-bun, deputy CEO of Bank of East Asia;
  • Peter Lo Chi-wai, Hong Kong chief country officer at Deutsche Bank; and
  • Frederick Tsang Sui-cheong, chief risk officer at China Everbright.

The regulator's other four committee members are SFC officials: chairman Carlson Tong, chairman; chief executive Ashley Alder; head of investment products Christina Choi Fung-yee and head of intermediaries Julia Leung Fung-yee.

HEITMAN NAMES AUSTRALIA MARKETING HEAD

US property investment firm Heitman has appointed Beau Titchkosky as Melbourne-based managing director for client service and marketing for Australia and New Zealand.

This is a newly created role, to be effective from August, said a spokesman. Australia and New Zealand had previously been covered by investment professionals out of Asia, Europe and North America, with a local third-party firm, Willowbrae House, providing on-the-ground client service. 

As the business has achieved critical mass, Heitman decided to add a dedicated full-time local resource, the spokesperson said.

Titchkosky, who will report to James Gruver, Heitman’s global sales leader, joins from Legg Mason, where he led the institutional and retail sales teams for Australia and New Zealand. Legg Mason declined to comment on the departure.

Titchkosky has also worked at Bankers Trust, Deutsche Bank and Aviva. 

SIMCORP HIRES NEW ASIA-PACIFIC HEAD

SimCorp, a provider of investment management software, has appointed Oliver Johnson as managing director for Asia Pacific in Singapore. He took over on May 2 from Nick Quin, who resigned to move back to New Zealand in early 2017.

Johnson will be responsible for overseeing all management, operations, sales and distribution. He reports to Jochen Müller, executive vice-president for Asia Pacific as well as Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

Johnson was most recently Singapore-based managing director at eFront, a provider of investment management software to the alternative investment industry, where headed Asia-Pacific operations.

UNIGESTION ADDS HEAD OF QUANT RESEARCH

Swiss asset manager Unigestion has appointed Robert Kosowski as its first dedicated head of quantitative research, effective on May 3.

Based in London, Kosowski joins Unigestion while maintaining his role at Imperial College Business School, where he is associate professor of finance.

He has also worked for Goldman Sachs, Boston Consulting Group and Deutsche Bank.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor in the past week:

Korea’s NPS on global alternatives hiring spree

HSBC GAM names China and Asean institutional heads