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JP Morgan AM creates APAC alts role

The firm believes there is increasing demand for the asset class from high net worth investors in Asia-Pacific.
Shawn Khazzam, JP Morgan Asset Management

Shawn Khazzam has been appointed to the newly-created role of alternatives solutions group (ASG) head for Asia-Pacific, according to a statement from the firm. He will be based in Hong Kong.

Khazzam, who was previously Asia-Pacific head of product strategy and development, will report to Jamie Kramer, New York-based global head of ASG, according to the statement.

Natalie Ho, who was previously a member of the product strategy team, will take over Khazzam’s previous role, according to a spokeswoman for the firm.

The ASG team has a client-focused function and will be responsible for new and existing clients, which include high net worth individuals and institutional investors. The team will not manage money on behalf of clients, she added.

“Forming the ASG is about adding a team of client-focused professionals to enhance the reach of global alternatives. It doesn’t consolidate or restructure the rest of the business,” she said.

Globally, in alternatives, the firm has $132bn in client assets under management, according to the spokeswoman.

Client demand

The ASG team – both globally and in Asia-Pacific – was created in response to growing interest in alternatives from both the institutional and high net worth segments, according to the spokeswoman.

“A tailored approach is required since sophisticated individual investors and institutions have different needs.”

The team will also partner with client advisors on investor education about alternatives, including hedge funds, real assets, real estate, infrastructure, transportation assets, private equity, private credit and liquid alternatives, according to the statement.

Khazzam said in the statement that the firm has seen a notable increase in client activity related to alternatives, including meetings and events.

“We’re seeing clients engage meaningfully with alternatives to solve for a variety of investment objectives ranging from return enhancement to diversification, inflation protection and yield generation,” Khazzam said.

Private banks in Asia-Pacific have been recommending clients allocate more to alternatives. Deutsche Wealth, for example, increased its alternatives allocation recommendation to 10% a year ago from the previous 5% allocation. UBS Wealth Management is recommending clients allocate up to 20% of assets to hedge funds, while Bank of Singapore is recommending a 14% allocation to alternatives.

Separately, DWS (the new brand name for Deutsche Asset Management), has appointed Clarence Ng in the newly-created role of Shanghai-based Asia-Pacific chief financial officer for the firm’s alternative business last month.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.