Tse resigns as Value Partners CEO 

Timothy Tse, chief executive of Hong Kong-based fund firm Value Partners, is stepping down after almost a decade with the company. He is expected to serve out his three months' notice with the firm.

“I have taken up the CEO position for almost five years, it is natural for me to consider other business opportunities,” Tse told AsianInvestor. He declined to share what his next step would be.

Cheah Cheng Hye, the firm’s founder and chairman of the board will be acting chief executive until a successor is appointed. Cheah is a veteran China equity investor and one of the most influential figures in the Asian hedge fund industry

A spokeswoman said a replacement chief could be hired externally or promoted from within; the firm will not rule out any possibility.

Tse was named at the firm’s CEO in June 2012, after serving as chief financial officer for three years. He first joined the firm as financial director in 2007 before its Hong Kong listing the same year.

“Value Partners is a home-grown house name in Hong Kong, but it has expanded to China, Taiwan and Singapore in recent years. European and US intuitional investors will recognise the firm when they think of China investing,” Tse said.

“The firm’s AUM nearly doubled in recent years, particular during 2013 to 2015. It has expanded further in the retail client segment" having traditionally focused on institutional clients, Tse said, crediting his team for the progress..

Under Tse, the firm grew its assets under management to $15.6 billion at the end of 2015 from $8.5 billion; it also expanded retail client base to 42% of total AUM from 27% during the same period.

The firm has suffered $1.8 billion in net outflows in the first nine months this year, as its AUM dropped 11% to $14 billion as of September. 

Lai Jing-Dong

M&G Real Estate replaces Asia acquisitions head

M&G Real Estate has appointed Lai Jing-Dong as its new acquisition director for Asia, effective in October. Based in Singapore, Lai is responsible for real estate acquisition activities across the UK firm’s core Asia markets in Australia, Hong Kong, Korea, Japan and Singapore.

Lai replaced Ng Chiang-Ling, who was promoted to Singapore-based chief executive and chief investment officer for Asia at M&G Real Estate in January. She replaced Scott Girard, who became senior adviser from April this year.

Prior to joining M&G, Lai was head of investments at Straits Real Estate. Straits did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Michael Fong

Charles Schwab hires HK head from Fidelity 

US investment services firm Charles Schwab has appointed Michael Fong, formerly of Fidelity International, as managing director for Hong Kong.

He came on board in early October to replace James Sun, who joined Harvest Global Investments, the Hong Kong arm of Beijing-based fund house Harvest, as chief executive in January.

Fong reports to Lisa Hunt, Charles Schwab’s executive vice-president for international services and special business development in Washington, DC. 

Fong had been Asia ex-Japan head of personal investing and retail operations at Fidelity International since August 2015. His duties have been assumed by Jon Everill, head of personal investing for Asia Pacific, and Jamie Wakeman, director of shared services for Asia Pacific, in addition to their other roles.

David Quah: promoted

Mirae Asset names HK ETF head

Mirae Asset Global Investments has promoted David Quah to  Hong Kong head of exchange-traded funds, effective November 1. He replaces Carmen Cheung, who has left the firm for family reasons.

Quah joined MAGI (Hong Kong) in May from Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) as a product specialist, mainly responsible for product marketing.

He now leads marketing and business development strategies for passive investment solutions for Asia at MAGI. He reports to Cho Wanyoun, chief operating officer at MAGI (Hong Kong). 

Before joining Mirae, Quah was vice-president of product development and marketing for cash trading at HKEX until February 2016. His duties have been assumed by Brian Roberts, who joined HKEX in October 2015 as a senior vice-president responsible for the bourse’s ETF business.

MAGI (HK) also hired David Tsoi as an ETF analyst, in September, for product marketing. Tsoi's role is a newly created one focusing on retail product marketing, a spokesperson said. Since Mirae has launched several new products this year, it hired Tsoi to further beef up product marketing activities, the spokeperson added. Before the appointment, Tsoi was a management trainee at HKEX.

MAGI (HK) listed its first batch of four leveraged and inverse products in Hong Kong last month.

DBS confirms hire of HSBC’s Ioannou

Singapore’s DBS Private Bank has confirmed the hire of Rob Ioannou as head of international, news of which emerged in May. He replaced Olivier Gougeon, who was in the role for nearly two years. DBS confirmed Gougeon had left, but his next move was not clear at the time of going to press. 

Ioannou joined in October with responsibilities for the global South Asia and non-resident Indian teams; Europe, Middle East and Africa; and the Japan international segment.

Based in Singapore, he reports to Lawrence Lua, deputy head of DBS Private Bank.

Ioannou was head of Southeast Asia at HSBC Private Bank. He spent 13 years with the UK firm in various roles, including business head of ultra-high-net-worth international in the UK. With a private banking career spanning 20 years, he also worked at JP Morgan and Citibank.

HSBC had already named Sandeep Sharma as sole head of private banking for Southeast Asia, after Ioannou left in April. 

Simmons & Simmons sets up Singapore JV

UK-based law firm Simmons & Simmons has set up a joint venture in Singapore with a local boutique law firm JWS Asia Law Corporation to advise on asset management and investment funds.

Launched on November 1, Simmons & Simmons JWS will have two joint managing partners – Dan Marjanovic, a partner of Simmons & Simmons, and Jek-Aun Long, a director of JWS Asia Law.

The JV will bring together lawyers from both firms, a total of 30 fee earners.

Latham & Watkins opens Seoul office
US law firm Latham & Watkins opened a Seoul office last week, with three staff – namely, office managing partner Joseph Bevash, finance partner Kang Sungjin and corporate counsel Helena Kim.

The branch will advise on mergers and acquisitions, private equity, leveraged finance, debt and equity capital markets and international arbitration practices.

Bevas is a partner in Latham & Watkins’ Hong Kong office and the office managing partner in Tokyo, so he will not be based in Seoul full time.

Kang, a Korean native, is also a partner in Hong Kong, but will relocate to the Seoul office as a foreign legal consultant, pending regulatory approvals.

Kim, a counsel, will continue to be based in Seoul. She has practised in Latham & Watkins’ offices in the Middle East, Singapore and Hong Kong.

EFG International completes purchase of BSI

Swiss bank EFG International has completed the acquisition of BSI from BTG Pactual for a preliminary purchase price of SFr1.06 billion ($1.07 billion).

This represents about a quarter lower than the original expected purchase price of SFr1.33 billion announced early this year, before BSI was embroiled in a money laundering scandal involving Malaysia’s controversial state development fund, 1MDB.

BSI’s Singapore operation was subsequently ordered to close following investigations from the Monetary Authority of Singapore and by the Swiss regulator FINMA.

After completion of the transaction, EFG International will exercise full management control of BSI.

EFG announced that Thomas A. Mueller has been appointed CEO of BSI, replacing Roberto Isolani who was appointed CEO when Stefano Coduri was asked to step down at the height of the money laundering scandal in May.

Previously, Mueller was an executive committee member of various financial institutions, including of Banca del Gottardo from 2002 to 2005.

The BSI board of directors now consists of Joachim H. Straehle (chairman), CEO of EFG International; Giorgio Pradelli, deputy CEO and CFO of EFG International; Peter Fischer, head of strategy of EFG International; and Rudy Van Den Steen, former chief financial officer of EFG International from 2000 to 2010.

BSI will operate as a separate subsidiary within EFG International’s holding structure for a limited time, until its full legal integration, expected in the second quarter 2017.

Other people news reported on AsianInvestor in the past week:

DBS out of ABN Amro race after ANZ deal?

Robeco eyes QDLP licence, plans A-share fund