ALLIANZ REAL ESTATE OPENS IN SHANGHAI AND TOKYO, ADDS CHINA ACQUISITIONS EXEC

German insurer Allianz’s property investment arm earlier this month opened its first offices in mainland China and Japan and has added a fourth executive to the team in Shanghai.

Paddy Gu joined Allianz Real Estate in May as a vice president responsible for acquisitions as part of the firm’s rapid regional buildout, which also includes a new office opening in Tokyo this month.

Gu moved from Singapore’s Keppel Capital, where he was a Shanghai-based assistant vice president, according to his LinkedIn page.

He joins three other executives who have transferred from Allianz Real Estate’s Singapore office, bringing the headcount across the three offices in Asia to 30.

Patrick Kuo joined from alternatives manager Apollo in November 2019 as a director for acquisitions. Ella Hu came on board in August last year from Singapore’s CapitaLand as a vice president for asset management. And Fanshu Qin joined in the same month from China Life and is a senior associate for asset management.

The acquisitions staff all report to Danny Phuan, Asia Pacific head of acquisitions, while the asset management team report to Ng Chiang-Wei, Asia Pacific head of asset management.

The changes come after Allianz said in March it was merging Allianz Real Estate with Pimco, another unit of the German group. The move comes as Allianz Real Estate moves to build a third-party client base. Its €73.6 billion ($81 billion) in assets were previously managed only on behalf of its parent insurer.   

GOLDMAN DELAYING WEALTH HIRING PLANS, FLAGS PLANS TO REOPEN OFFICES

Goldman Sachs is delaying plans to hire more private wealth advisers and putting back the launch a digital wealth platform to next year, chief operating officer John Waldron said on May 27.

Speaking at a conference hosted by Bernstein, he said the bank was “acting prudently in the current environment”, one he described as unprecedented and challenging.

Waldron did not say how much Goldman would slow its hiring.

Meanwhile, he discussed the bank’s staffing plans as lockdowns are eased. By early March, Waldron said, Goldman had 98% of its staff globally working from home. It has now started implementing a plan to return them to offices.

That “includes building towards approximately 50% of our people working in our offices in Hong Kong, China and Korea, and approximately 10% in our offices across continental Europe”. Waldron did not give a time frame for these changes.

He added that the bank was planning for a core group of people in our market-facing businesses to return in the US and London “over the next several weeks”.

MSCI APPOINTS APAC HEAD OF REAL ESTATE SALES

Varun Malik

Index provider MSCI has hired Varun Malik as head of Asia Pacific real estate client coverage in Singapore from Mitsubishi UFG. At the Japanese bank he was head of real estate coverage and of acquisition finance for Asia.

A well placed source said Malik had not been replaced at MUFG, but the bank declined to confirm that.He is understood to have taken up the role on May 18. MSCI declined to say whether Malik had replaced anyone. 

Before joining MUFG Malik worked at Standard Chartered for 12 years, most recently as a director in the bank’s real estate division, according to his LinkedIn page.

TAIWAN FSC NAMES NEW CHAIRMAN

Huang Tien-mu

Taiwan’s Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) has promoted Huang Tien-mu from vice chairman to chairman to replace Wellington Koo, who has been appointed chief of the country's National Security Council.

Hsu Yung-chin succeeded Huang as FSC’s vice chairman, according to an FSC statement.

The appointments became effective on May 20, when Taiwanese president Tsai Ing-wen started her second term.

HK SFC BANS EX-FUND MANAGER FOR NINE MONTHS

Hong Kong’s securities regulator has banned Kwok Chau-Mo, a former fund manager of Guosen Securities (HK) Asset Management, for nine months from May 28.

The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) said Kwok breached his firm’s trading policies between April 10, 2012 and May 23, 2017. He had concealed from his employer his beneficial interests in and/or direct control or influence over two securities trading accounts held by a friend and an acquaintance at an external brokerage firm, and his trading activities in them, the regulator stated. 

In deciding the sanction, the SFC took into account Kwok’s admission of wrongdoing and his otherwise clean disciplinary record.

Kwok had held type 4 (advising on securities), type 5 (advising on futures contracts) and type 9 (asset management) regulated activities.

FIRST STATE SHIFTS MANAGERS, APPOINTS NEW INFRA HEAD

First State Investments has created a new executive committee in a senior management switchup, and appointed Perry Clausen its new global chief investment officer (CIO).

The Australian fund house has also promoted Niall Mills to head of global infrastructure investments for its unlisted infrastructure business due to Clausen's promotion.

Perry Clausen

First State said it had formed the executive committee to complement its executive leadership team. It comprises chief executive Mark Steinburg, deputy CEO Yutaka Kawakami and Liz Hastilow, chief legal and risk officer, Clausen in the new global CIO role, Harry Moore as global head of distribution and Chris Turpin as global director of corporate development.

The global CIO role merges the former roles of David Dixon, equities CIO, and Paul Griffiths, CIO for fixed income and multi-asset solutions. A spokesman did not respond to questions about what had happened to the two men.

Clausen will continue to be based in Melbourne. He has been First State's global head of unlisted infrastructure since 2012, after being made co-head in 2009.

Niall Mills

Mills, who took on his new role on May 21, will continue to work from London. He joined First State’s senior management team as a partner in its European infrastructure business in 2008 and had headed infrastructure asset management for First State’s European business. He reports to Clausen.

First State has chosen not to directly replace Mills's former role. Danny Latham, Chris McArthur and Marcus Ayre are the other members of the senior management team, and they will continue to run the business as at present, said the spokesman.

First State gained a new owner last year, when Mitsubishi UFJ Trust and Banking Corporation acquired it from Commonwealth Bank in a $2.7 billion deal.