Eastspring opens London sales office
Eastspring Investments has opened an office in London for distributing its Asia strategies to European investors.

The London-based sales team will be divided into two. The wholesale group will reach out to private banks and bank distribution platforms, while the institutional team will meet pensions, institutions and sovereign wealth funds. Both will focus on investors in the UK and Europe.

Russell Danby joined Eastspring to head the wholesale team, while Gordon Hogarth oversees the institutional group.

Danby joined in June from investment manager Capital Group, where he was head of sales for four years. Hogarth, meanwhile, joined in July from Affiliated Managers Group, where he spent six years as a managing director and head of European distribution.

In addition, Eastspring relocated Piers Wheeler, director of institutional business, from Singapore to London in July. He is working directly with Hogarth to build its European and Middle Eastern institutional business. He joined Eastspring’s Singapore hub in the middle of 2012 from AMP Capital, where he was head of institutional business in the Middle East.

A spokeswoman says the firm will not replace Wheeler in Singapore.

Eastspring, Prudential Asia’s $95 billion asset management arm, will keep its investment staff in Singapore, and has no plans to add investment capabilities to London, a spokeswoman says.

Threadneedle bulks out Asian equity team
The recent lift-out of four members of Nikko Asset Management’s equity team by UK fund house Threadneedle Investments, as reported, is part of the latter’s plans to expand its £3.6 billion ($5.8 billion) regional equity capabilities globally.

Ng Soo-nam, previously chief investment officer at Nikko AM, joined Threadneedle last month as head of Asian equities, while three members of his Nikko AM team, portfolio managers Christine Seng and Liang Weixiong and analyst Low Wee Jia, followed.

Seng joins as a fund manager for Singapore and Australia, Liang as an analyst and Low as a senior associate. All are based in Singapore.

The only non-Nikko executive to join recently is Bernard Lim, who came from Fullerton Fund Management. He is now a senior fund manager for Asia ex-Japan. Prior to Fullerton, he was chief investment officer at Mirae Asset Global Investment Management, overseeing the firm’s flagship Asia ex-Japan regional fund from 2005 through 2008.

Ng had worked at Nikko AM since 2007, where he managed a team of 20 equity and fixed income investment professionals. He previously spent almost three years at Mirae Asset Global Investments, and before that, Schroder Investment Management.

Ng reports to Leigh Harrison, head of equities at Threadneedle, while Lim, Seng, Liang and Low all report to Ng.

These hires are part of Threadneedle’s efforts to build its Asian product line and increase its Asian AUM, a spokeswoman says. They will work directly with its London-based Asian equities team.

Winson Fung took over Ng’s portfolio at Nikko AM. A spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the other positions had been filled.

On a related note, Nikko AM signed an exclusive memorandum of understanding (MoU) to acquire a Singapore-based Asian equities boutique, as reported. The acquisition will include the addition of seven investment staff, although these are not replacements as Nikko AM plans to replace the departing quartet.

The Nikko AM spokeswoman declined to provide further details on the MoU.

JP Morgan taps Lee from DBS Vickers
US bank JP Morgan has hired Edmund Lee from DBS Vickers as senior country officer for Singapore.

Starting on October 1, he takes responsibility for the bank's operations and strategic development in the Lion City, overseeing global products and platforms across the corporate and investment bank, asset management group and private bank.

He will also meet regulators and government bodies. Some 2,000 people work under Lee, a JP Morgan spokesman says, confirming his position has been vacant until now.

Previously Lee spent 12 years as chairman and CEO at DBS Vickers. He replaces Philip Lee, former country head and CEO of Southeast Asia investment banking who left in April after 18 years with the firm to join Deutsche Bank as chief country officer in Singapore and vice-chairman for Southeast Asia. Rob Sivitilli took over as head of investment banking for Southeast Asia.

DBS appointed Lim Kok Ann, previously head of DBS Vickers’ institutional business, to take over as CEO of DBS Vickers Securities, a spokeswoman says. She declined to comment on when the appointment was made or who has taken over as institutional head.

State Street hires ex-BNP managing director
State Street has appointed Elizabeth Sok-Gek Chia as head of global services for Southeast Asia.

She started on September 27 in Singapore, reporting to Ian Martin, senior vice-president and head of State Street’s global solutions for South Asia and Pacific. She is responsible for bulking out the firm’s investor-base in Brunei, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

Chia spent four years as managing director and head of client development at BNP Paribas Securities Services in Asia, based in Singapore. Ten people reported to her while at BNP. The French bank has not yet found a replacement, although it is recruiting, a spokeswoman says.

She replaces Nick Wright at State Street, who has moved to its London office as global services chief operating officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

HSBC appoints head of Asian SWF
HSBC has appointed Michael Bevan as head of sovereign wealth funds for the Asia-Pacific region, effective immediately.

Bevan, who leaves his role as head of equity capital markets for Middle East and Africa, will assist the bank’s sovereign wealth fund clients and liaise with counterparts in London and the Middle East. He is based in Hong Kong.

Bevan has worked at the UK-based bank since 2000 and helped to establish its equity capital markets franchise in the Middle East, while also working with M&A and ECM teams in London.

Bevan reports to Russell Julius, head of banking for Asia-Pacific, and Evans Haji-Touma, global head of SWF banking globally.

UBS names investment strategy head
UBS Global Asset Management has named Tracey McNaughton as head of investment strategy for Australia.

Based in Sydney, McNaughton will focus on Australian economic and investment research, working directly with the firm’s multi-asset strategy investment team.

She joins from Colonial First State, where she held a similar role. Previously she worked at Baille Gifford, BT Investment Management, Westpac Investment Management and Credit Suisse.

McNaughton replaces Mark Rider, a 15-year veteran of the Swiss bank who left in April to join Australia & New Zealand Banking Group.

McNaughton reports to Bryce Doherty, who was recently promoted to head of Australasia, and Stefan Lecher, global head strategist of investment solutions.

UK investment firm hires Invesco exec
UK asset manager M&G Investments appointed Claudia Calich to its retail fixed interest team.

Calich will join on October 18 and report to the team head Jim Leaviss. She most recently worked at Invesco in New York, and will relocate to London to take on her new position, a spokeswoman says.

She spent much of the last decade at Invesco in New York, most recently as head of emerging markets debt and a senior portfolio manager.

M&G Investments oversaw $357 billion in AUM as of June 30.

Other people news reported in AsianInvestor in the past week:

Manulife names new wealth management head

Legal fund practices suffer heavy turnover