Weekly roundup of people news, Sep 26

Harvest GI loses VP; KIC to double research team; BlackRock promotes in consultant relations; SFC reappoints CEO; RBC hires ex-SumiTrust manager; eVestment opens Dubai office; and Withers adds lawyer.
Weekly roundup of people news, Sep 26

Harvest Global Investments loses regional business head
Nayan Patel resigned this week as vice president of regional business development at Harvest Global Investments, the Hong Kong arm of China's Harvest Fund Management, effective September 24.

AsianInvestor couldn’t ascertain his next move as of press time.

Patel was responsible for distribution in Australia, Europe, Japan and the Middle East. He declined to comment for this article.

Michelle Chua, head of business development for Asia, will take over his responsibilities for Japan and Australia on top of her current role. 

Europe and the Middle East will be covered from London, where Harvest GI is planning to establish an office early next year. The firm plans to use that as a gateway into Europe. It is seeking to build a fully functional asset management arm in the UK capital, with an investment team of up to 10 staff.

As of press time, the firm had not commented on who would cover Europe and the Middle East in the interim.

Patel had joined the company in April last year from UK investment manager Kames Capital, which he joined in June 2006 and where he was business development manager, according to his LinkedIn profile.

Before that, he worked from March 2005 to March 2006 as a global relationship management analyst at Fidelity International.

KIC to boost research team
Korea Investment Corporation (KIC) intends to nearly double its research team to 60 from 32 in the next two years, Bloomberg has reported. The team will be tasked with picking stocks for two new funds.

This comes after chief executive Ahn ‘Hank’ Hong-Chul announced in February that the fund was embarking on the largest restructuring in its history to align it with international best practice as it strives to improve returns.

The stated goal is to help KIC pursue a long-term, value-driven investment style similar to that of Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway.

In June, KIC CIO Choo Heung-Sik defended the fund over its loss-making investment in Merrill Lynch, and outlined plans to boost exposure to alternatives. In January 2008, KIC invested $2 billion into the troubled US investment bank and suffered significant losses subsequently.

He said KIC was setting out to increase its alternative investment exposure to 20% of its overall portfolio, pointing to the 4%-5% illiquidity premium of private markets.

Choo pointed out that KIC had delivered a 9% return in 2013.

BlackRock promotes for consultant relations role
BlackRock has named Steven Rust as head of global consultant relations for Asia ex-Japan, effective September 1.

Based in Hong Kong, he is tasked with developing and managing consultant relations and expanding partnerships with investment consultants in the US, UK and continental Europe.

Rust succeeds Patrick O’Donnell, who became head of BlackRock's institutional client business team in Singapore this March, according to his LinkedIn profile.

O’Donnell had started in the then newly created head of global consultant relations role in March 2013. BlackRock’s global consultant relations team is part of its institutional client business.

Rust reports to John Gee-Grant, head of the global consultant relations group, and works closely with the institutional business team for Asia ex-Japan, which is led by Winnie Pun.

Rust joined BlackRock’s global consultant relations group nine years ago in New York, before moving to London in 2008.

Before joining BlackRock, he was an investment analyst in the US at Overseas Private Investment Corporation.

Hong Kong SFC reappoints CEO
Hong Kong's securities regulator has reappointed Ashley Alder as its chief executive for another three-year term, effective October 1. He took up the role in October 2011.

Ashley Alder

The previous CEO, Martin Wheatley, had left the post in June the same year. He is now chief of the UK's Financial Conduct Authority.

Alder has worked in Hong Kong for more than 20 years, including a stint at the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) from 2001 to 2004 as executive director of corporate finance. Before he took the CEO in 2011, he was Hong Kong head of UK law firm Herbert Smith.

Meanwhile, the SFC's deputy CEO, Alexa Lam, is expected to retire in March next year at the end of her current term, and her role may be split into component parts, say industry observers.

Lam has been a key architect of the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition scheme for funds and the SFC would want her to remain in place until it is up and running, said one senior lawyer in Hong Kong.

The watchdog is understood to have been seeking a replacement for months and to have been rebuffed on a number of approaches it has made to senior lawyers and counsels.

RBC appoints ex-SumiTrust manager
RBC Investor & Treasury Services has hired Alvin Chan as associate director for sales and distribution, based in Hong Kong.

The Canadian firm did not respond by press time to queries about who occupied the position before Chan.

Chan had previously worked for SuMi Trust's asset services business in Hong Kong as senior manager of client relationships and business development for Asia ex-Japan.

He left in late July when Japan’s biggest trust bank closed its asset services business in Hong Kong and transferred those functions to Tokyo as part of a global restructuring.

Chan had joined SumiTrust in June 2013 from Chinese bank ICBC, where he was relationship manager in the custody department. Before that he worked at HSBC in regional sales.

eVestment sets up in Dubai
Research firm eVestment has opened an office in Dubai, the company’s first in the Middle East.

Wissem Souissi will run the branch as vice president for the Middle East and Africa. Previously, the two regions were covered from London. eVestment plans to add two or three people next year.

Investable institutional assets domiciled in the Middle East and Africa have grown more than 180% to $560 billion in the second quarter of 2014 from $196.8 billion in the second quarter of 2009, said the firm.

While the Middle East is not yet a major centre for alternative investments, Dubai recently eased restrictions on asset managers operating in the Dubai International Financial Centre, the financial enterprise zone, eVestment noted.

The reform introduced a qualified investor fund (QIF) category of funds domiciled in Dubai. QIFs are permitted to accept investments of more than $500,000 and are limited to 50 investors per fund.

Prior to joining eVestment this June, Souissi worked from January 2010 to May 2014 as sales manager for the Middle East and the Russian Commonwealth at software vendor eFront. Before that, he worked in a similar position at Moody’s Analytics.

Withers hires wealth planning lawyer
Law firm Withers has hired George McCormick as a registered foreign lawyer in its wealth planning team, based in Hong Kong, effective September 23.

George McCormick

His areas of expertise are tax planning, compliance and pre-immigration and expatriation issues relating to the US.

Before joining Withers, McCormick practiced tax law in the US, most recently at the Florida Department of Revenue, where he advised legislators and agencies on federal and state tax laws and legislation.

Prior to that, he worked from July 2010 to April 2012 as legislative counsel at the US House of Representatives, where he advised Congressmen on financial services, according to his LinkedIn profile.

McCormick holds bar licences in the District of Columbia, Florida and Virginia in the US.

In 2012, Withers opened an office in Singapore, four years after it had first set up in Hong Kong.

Other people news reported by AsianInvestor this week:

Desmond Ng quits Invesco for rival

Aberdeen to rebrand, expand Indonesian firm

Amundi unveils head of landmark Thai unit

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