Lian Chia-Liang has left Pimco for California bond rival Western Asset, taking up a role as head of the Asian fixed-income investment team in Singapore.

He replaces Rajeev De Mello, who recently departed Western for Schroder Investment Management.

It's a quick recovery for Western. Experienced Asia bond managers are thin on the ground and losing De Mello could have led to a prolonged period without a senior Asia investment pro.

Pasadena-based Keith Gardner, head of investments for global developing markets, has been shuttling between Singapore and California in the interim to maintain the investment strategies.

Lian was senior vice-president at Pimco and the group's most senior investment manager in Asia. He joined Pimco in 2005 after serving as a sovereign debt strategist at JP Morgan Chase and Merrill Lynch. Before that, he was an economist at the Monetary Authority of Singapore. He is one of the first full-time bond investors hired by a US asset manager in Asia.

A profile of Lian appeared in AsianInvestor magazine's 'Trader Talk' feature, September 2010 edition.

Western has not declared a date for Lian to start, but market sources speculate it will be by late September or early October.

Western also announced the appointment of Gordon Brown in London, who joins from Baillie Gifford as a portfolio manager on the global markets team. He will provide input into Eastern European debt markets as well.