Weekly roundup of people news, Nov 17

Axa announces Asia CEO; Axa IM's Asia SWF head leaving; UBS AM hires director in Singapore; Sanctum WM appoints Singapore executive; HKMA makes senior appointments and more
Weekly roundup of people news, Nov 17


Axa has named Gordon Watson as chief executive officer for Asia effective January 1, 2018 based in Hong Kong.

Watson, who will report to Thomas Buberl, Axa's chief executive, replaces Jean-Louis Laurent Josi, the former regional chief executive of Axa Asia, who announced in June he would step down from his role.

Josi stays on with the group as senior advisor until end of 2017. An Axa spokeswoman declined to comment on whether Josi would stay with the group after 2017.

Watson was previously regional chief executive of AIA’s group operations in Hong Kong and Macau, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and New Zealand.

AIA announced in April that Watson would leave the group.

It has since appointed two new regional chief executives, who took up their posts on June 1: John Cai, previously CEO of AIA China, became regional chief executive responsible for operations in China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Myanmmar; and Jacky Chan, previously CEO of AIA Hong Kong and Macau, was appointed regional chief executive responsible for Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, the Philippines and Cambodia, along with responsibility for group agency distribution.


Tom Clapham, Axa Investment Managers' head of sovereign wealth funds and central banks in Asia, is leaving the asset manager, a source with knowledge of the matter confirmed to AsianInvestor.

Hong Kong-based Clapham has been at Axa IM since 2015, leading business development and relationship management for Axa IM, particularly with Asian institutional investors, according to his LinkedIn page.

Axa IM did not confirm the move or respond to queries from AsianInvestor by press time on when his last day would be and whether a replacement had been found.


Manulife has appointed Khoo Kah Siang as chief executive for its Singapore operations. He will take up the role on February 9, 2018, subject to regulatory approval.

Khoo replaces Naveed Irshad, who has been appointed head of Manulife's North America legacy business.

He will join Manulife’s Asia executive committee and report directly to Asia CEO Anil Wadhwani.

Khoo will be responsible for the company’s operations in Singapore, including its life insurance, wealth management and retirement solutions businesses.

He joins Manulife from Great Eastern, where he was  senior managing director responsible for strategic business development and regional bancassurance.

He was also previously CEO of its Singapore operations.

Great Eastern declined to comment on the timing of his departure.


Brian Atlee has joined UBS Asset Management in November as director in Singapore, according to his LinkedIn profile.

He was previously an associate with Aviva Investors, and according to LinkedIn, had been at Aviva Investors since September 2011.

Neither UBS nor Aviva Investors responded to queries from AsianInvestor before press time.


The Hong Kong Monetary Authority has made two senior leadership appointments to fill out its chief executive’s committee.

Howard Lee has been promoted to deputy chief executive, effective January 1, while Alan Au will become executive director of banking conduct, effective December 12.

Lee (pictured, left) will continue to oversee monetary stability and financial infrastructure development, including fintech, licensing regulations, supervision of stored value facilities, and the designation and oversight of retail payment systems.

His appointment brings the number of deputy chief executives back up to three, joining Eddie Yu and Arthur Yuen, after Peter Pang’s retirement in February 2016. Lee will report to chief executive Norman Chan, an HKMA spokesman said.

He was most recently senior executive director at the HKMA. Prior to that appointment, he held various executive roles at the HKMA, including executive director of monetary management, executive director of corporate services, and division head of banking policy.

Au (pictured, right) will be responsible for the supervision and development of business, conduct of authorised institutions, licensing matters, and the oversight of financial market infrastructure, the spokesman said.

He succeeds Carmen Chu, who is replacing Meena Datwani as executive director of enforcement and anti-money laundering, and he will report to deputy chief executive Arthur Yuen.

Most recently, Au was division head in the banking supervision department. He has also held roles as administrative assistant to the chief executive of the HKMA, and division head of the corporate development division.

Au's replacement has not been announced yet.


Indian wealth manager Sanctum Wealth Management has appointed Sridhar Natarajan as senior advisor for international markets, based in Singapore.

Natarajan, who joined in October, was previously head of business development and markets investment advisory for South Asia at UBS Wealth Management.  

He has previously worked at Julius Baer and Deutsche Bank.

The new appointment is part of the Indian firm’s announcement on November 15 that it would launch international markets coverage to offer foreign investors and non-resident Indians access to investment opportunities in India.

Sanctum has plans to recruit a team focused on Singapore and other regional market, a company spokeswoman said.

UBS WM did not respond to queries from AsianInvestor by press time.


US asset manager Northern Trust Asset Management has appointed Martha Fee as chief operating officer for Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific.

Fee (pictured) took up the role on September 1, a company spokesman said. She is responsible for the day to day running of their offshore fund operation, service delivery platform, and the development and management of operating models supporting fund distribution across Europe and Asia.

She is based in London and reports to Wayne Bowers, chief executive of Northern Trust AM for EMEA and Asia.

Fee replaces Eleanor Fitzgerald, who is now Northern Trust’s chief risk officer for Asia Pacific in Singapore, according to the company spokesman.

Fee was most recently senior vice-president of relationship management at Northern Trust Corporation, and previously worked as director of global institutional operations at Janus Capital Group, according to her LinkedIn profile.


Swiss fintech firm Crealogix has appointed a new head in Asia Pacific to oversee an expansion of its mobile banking services in the region.

Pascal Wengi (pictured) is Asia Pacific managing director, based in Singapore, and he will be responsible for the long-term strategic development of Crealogix in the region. He will also head up commercial activities for the fintech company, Wengi told AsianInvestor.

He started on November 1, reporting to chief marketing officer Marc Stahli and chief executive Thomas Avedik, Wengi said.

Most recently, he was senior project and account manager with Crealogix in Zurich, said Wengi. Prior to that, he was project manager at Ruf IT Services.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor in the past week:

Investment and sales heads exit Axa Hong Kong


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