Northern Trust opens Korea office
Asset management and servicing group Northern Trust has opened a representative office in Korea and installed Byun Jaiyung to run it, with a view to deepening institutional relationships in the country.

This will be a liaison office to raise awareness of Northern Trust and its capabilities. As a rep office it is not allowed to contract any services there directly.

Northern Trust has been expanding in the region, having opened a rep office in Malaysia in February led by Ariani Rustam, who joined from Bank Negara Malaysia, as reported. It is also expected to open an operations hub in Manila this quarter.

“South Korea is one of the world’s fastest growing economies. We see a significant opportunity to offer our range of solutions,” said Frederick Waddell, Northern Trust chairman and chief executive.

Byun Jaiyung

Byun has been working as a consultant in Seoul for Northern Trust since mid-2013, having spent 30 years working for Bank of Korea across compliance, international finance and foreign exchange policy planning.

He will report to William Mak, who succeeded Teresa Parker as the Northern Trust's Asia Pacific head earlier this year, as reported.

Mak told AsianInvestor: “We have for the past six years been serving a sovereign client in Korea. We believe it now makes sense for us to have a local presence.”

He praised Byun for his extensive experience and strong existing relations in Korea. The firm is hopeful he will be able to open doors there.

Northern Trust’s move to set up in Seoul can be seen as a first step towards the goal of opening a full branch – this is the model it adopted in Australia. Having opened a rep office in Melbourne in 2006, it set up a full branch two years later in response to growth in assets under custody (AUC) and management (AUM).

Northern Trust describes Asia Pacific as its fastest growing region. As at December 31 last year, it had $448 billion in assets under custody and AUM of $64 billion in the region. It says its AUC has grown at an annual rate of 25% and AUM at 15% in Asia Pacific from 2008 to 2013.

Globally the firm has AUC of $6 trillion and assets under investment management of $924 billion as at June 30 this year.

BNP Paribas on hiring spree
BNP Paribas has made a raft of new appointments to its research, sales, sales trading, electronic trading and transactional coverage teams in Asia.

The firm is on a drive to increase the breadth of its advisory business in midcap companies in China, Hong Kong and Japan, and build out its mass-market business, said Pierre Rousseau, head of global equities and commodity derivatives.

In changes to the research team, Asian equity strategist Manishi Raychaudhuri has relocated to Hong Kong from Mumbai.

The following were hired as equity analysts, based in Hong Kong: Ghee Peh from UBS to cover regional commodities; Victoria Li from Barclays to cover China autos and industrials; and Emily Lee from Standard Chartered to cover the Greater China consumer sector.

Other new Hong Kong-based equity analyst additions include Coria Chow, who joined from UBS in mid-August and covers Greater China commodities; Wu Wei-shi from Deutsche Bank to cover Asean telecoms; and Shengyong Goh from Sands China to cover regional gaming.

Japan-based Kazue Yanagisawa, joined from Japaninvest and covers Japanese consumer and small-mid cap equities.

New additions in sales are Hong Kong-based Sahil Asija, who joined the hedge fund sales team from Macquarie Bank; Lawrence Pang, who joined from Keppel as an Asian equity sales manager, based in Singapore; Tom Chetwood, who joined as an Asia and Japan senior equity sales manager from Macquarie, based in London; and Jo Wang, who joined as an Asian equity sales manager from Bank of China International, also based in London.

The sales trading hires comprise Christopher Jung, who joined as a managing director from China International Capital Corporation; Brian Goldberg, who joined as a director from Societe Generale to focus on hedge fund sales trading; Adrian Tan, who joined as a director from Morgan Stanley; Cartlina Lee, who joined as a director from RBS Korea; and Mick Wong, who joined as a director from Nomura. They are all based in Hong Kong and collectively cover the firm's trading business.

Based in Hong Kong, Ken Leung joined BNP Paribas’s electronic trading team as a director from JP Morgan to head product development.

Meanwhile, Polly Leung has joined the firm’s transactional coverage group (TCG) as a director from Industrial & Commercial Bank of China. She will focus on the firm’s business with China- and Hong Kong-based asset managers. Devin Perera has joined the TCG as an associate director from Morgan Stanley in Sydney to cover long-only asset managers. They are both based in Hong Kong.

As of press time, the firm declined to comment on whether there had been any departures or when the new staff had joined.

CICC chairman said to resign
Jin Liqun, chairman of investment bank China International Capital Corp (CICC) plans to resign this year, according to media reports. The bank's business includes asset management.

Reuters quoted two sources as saying Jin would take up a post at Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank. He had joined CICC in June last year.

This comes after chief executive Levin Zhu, son of former Chinese premier Zhu Rongji, resigned from the bank after 16 years. CICC announced Zhu’s departure on Tuesday.

Lin Shoukang, CICC's chief operating officer, will become acting chief executive.

It is not clear where Zhu is going, but Chinese newspaper Securities Times said he would probably set up his own company for internet-related businesses.

Zhu, a 57-year-old capital markets veteran, joined CICC in Hong Kong in 1998. Before that, Zhu worked for Arthur Andersen and Credit Suisse First Boston.

CICC was established by Morgan Stanley and China Construction Bank in 1995 as the country's first joint venture securities house. Morgan Stanley later exited the JV by selling its stake to a batch of foreign investors including private equity firm KKR and TPG and sovereign wealth fund GIC.

Manulife AM names chief economist
Manulife Asset Management appointed Megan Greene as chief economist on October 1, replacing Bill Cheney, who has retired after 27 years in the role.

Since January 2013, Greene had ran her own London-based economics consulting practice, Maverick Intelligence. Before that she was director of European economics at Roubini Global Economics and editor/economist for Western Europe at the Economist Intelligence Unit.

Based in Boston, Greene is tasked with forecasting global macroeconomic and financial trends and supporting the firm’s investment teams around the world, including the one in Hong Kong.

She will also become a member of the firm’s portfolio solutions group (PSG), which specialises in global asset allocation portfolio management. She reports to Robert Boyda, co-head of global asset allocation.

The appointment follows the recent hire of Peter Warnes as PSG international head, a newly created role based in Hong Kong.

OMGI snares absolute-return fixed-income team
UK-based Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) has hired an absolute-return fixed-income team from Ignis Asset Management, which was taken over by Standard Life Investments (SLI) this March.

Russ Oxley will run the team. He will be joined by Huw Davies, Joshua Heming, Adam Purzitsky, Paul Shanta and Jin Wong. Oxley will report to Julian Ide, OMGI chief executive.

The new hires will take up their positions next year. They are tasked with helping launch and manage a new suite of absolute return fixed income products.

Together they had managed the £4.2 billion ($6.8 billion) Ignis Absolute Return Government Bond Fund, which was launched in April 2011.

News of their departure comes after SLI said the Ignis Absolute Return Government Bond Fund had been integrated and embedded into the firm.

Chris Fellingham, CIO of Ignis, is overseeing the process and will assume direct responsibility for the fund. Jonathan Gibbs and Adam Skerry from SLI’s inflation team will assume additional responsibility for the strategy.

The team’s departure follows a slew of high-profile post-acquisition exits from Ignis AM.

OMGI also plans to open an office in Edinburgh, but did not give a timetable for the move.

HK’s SFC re-appoints non-executive director
Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) has re-appointed Kelvin Wong Tin-yau as a non-executive director for a term of two years, effective October 20.

He was first appointed as a non-executive director in October 2012.

Wong is deputy managing director of Cosco Pacific, the Hong Kong subsidiary of China’s Cosco. He is responsible for the management of the company's work relating to capital markets and investor relations.

Wong is also chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Directors and a member of the Hong Kong stock exchange’s listing committee, among other posts.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor this week:

Franklin Templeton to name institutional sales head

Salisbury Securities directors banned for life