Wellington International Management has hired Ada Mak in Hong Kong to handle institutional marketing and to explore opening an office there. Sources say Wellington is interested in obtaining licenses for its offshore products from the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission. There is no firm timetable for doing so, however.

Mak previously headed up regional distribution for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers, reporting to Seiichi Fukuyama in Hong Kong. MLIM's Asian business was curtailed in cost-cutting measures in early 2002. She could not be reached for comment.

Wellington International is the ex-United States arm of Wellington Management, the Boston-based fund powerhouse with over $300 billion under management. It is a dominant player among Singapore's biggest institutional investors, where it has had an office since 1996. It also opened offices in Sydney and Tokyo in 1997.

Wellington has not had a permanent on-the-ground presence in North Asia, and has covered the Greater China and Korea markets with executives from its other offices. As it tends to work only for top-tier clients with a sophisticated, global point of view, most of its regional clientele has come from Singapore or Hong Kong. But that is beginning to change: Wellington was named one of four global fund managers mandated for South Korea's National Pension Corporation's inaugural international equities allocation.