There are some weeks your humble Spy comes across so few people moves that he has strong concerns about the recruitment industry. Well, never truly dire concerns – recruitment agents feature rather lowly in Spy’s hierarchy of needs. Nonetheless, someone has been busy and successful, as the whole of Asian asset and wealth management seems to be on the move this week.
First up, Spy has heard the news that Rajeev Mittal, regional CEO at Pinebridge Investments, will leave the firm in mid-December and will join Fidelity. According to Rajeev’s LinkedIn profile, he has been with Pinebridge since 1992 so this marks a big career change for the veteran. Pinebridge has begun a search for someone to fill his role. Pinebridge now has $91bn in AUM. The firm’s US Equity Fund is still up 6.5% in what has been a tough market for US funds.
Stephen Sheung has joined HSBC’s discretionary wealth team as a director and product specialist. He reports into Michael Christo who heads up the discretionary unit. Stephen was formerly at UBS, where, by amazing coincidence, he used to work with, eh, Michael Christo! Perhaps the recruitment agents are not getting all the fees after all…People follow bosses, they don’t just leave companies, observes Spy.
M&G has lured Heather Lei to join its Hong Kong intermediary distribution team. Heather was previously at Janus Henderson for the last seven years and before that was at Standard Chartered. Janus Henderson’s Global Life Science fund has had a good year – it is up 11%. M&G’s Short Dated Corporate Bond Fund has delivered more than 7% this year.
In a move that surprised your jaded Spy, Alex Boggis has stepped down from Aberdeen Standard Investments. Alex ran the Hong Kong office of Aberdeen prior to the merger with Standard Life and had taken on a regional insurance company-focused role post the merger. There is no news if the insurance role has been replaced or merged with another ASI team. ASI’s Global North American Equity fund is up nearly 5% over the last year.
Spy has learned that the Canadian wealth giant Canaccord Genuity Wealth Management has finally opened an office in Singapore, its first in Asia. The company has lured Nick Teo to join as business development director from Friends Provident International, the life/wealth group that has been acquired by RL 360. CGWM has traditionally focussed on providing risk-rated solutions to financial advisers, but Spy understands this move broadens the target of their funds in Asia.
HSBC Global Asset Management has hired Anne Lui as head of client propositions. Anne was formerly at Hong Kong-headquartered Value Partners as senior director of marketing and communications and before that was head of marketing for Asia at Barings in Hong Kong. Both HSBC GAM and Value Partners, along with many others in the industry, have had a challenging year performance-wise with most funds flat or negative.
Singaporean-based robo-adviser, Stashaway is continuing its regional rollout with the acquisition of a capital markets license in Malaysia. The firm announced it was “onboarding” waitlisted clients. Spy suspects most robo-advisers will have no choice but to build regional businesses as the model relies on volume which is hard to do in Southeast Asia, where competition is intense. Spy will watch this intriguing development.
As many regular readers will no doubt guess, Spy is a bit of an old school beer drinking, steak munching, sort of a fellow – despite the pleas of his long suffering Domestic-Commander-in-Chief. This week Spy spotted the proposed listing of a fund that is, almost certainly, not targeted at him. Beyond Advisors’ US Vegan Climate ETF. Spy is for saving the climate but he is not quite as convinced on the vegan lifestyle just yet. That said, investing in products where money is to be made rather than what one enjoys should be the mantra. Spy does not smoke, but he is sure his humble pension fund has a tobacco company or two.
Is there an asset manager that is smiling this year in Asia? Spy suspects Allianz Global Investors may fit the bill. Spy has heard from various large banks that Allianz has featured highly in their distribution this year. Is this a case of handing Peter’s (PIMCO’s) money to Paul (AGI)?
Spy overheard a conversation between an asset manager and a very large Chinese bank in Hong Kong this week. Things had been rather dismal, the fund selector at the bank said. “Not to worry though, some juicy promotions were coming that would, eh, help achieve his sales targets”, he quipped. Never underestimate the power of good old-fashioned promotion, reckons Spy.
Spy’s photographers have found some new advertising. In Hong Kong, in TST to be more specific, Schroders appears to be tapping into every kid’s financial planning memory with what looks like a lively juice stand. It is promoting the ISF Global Multi-Asset Income Fund:
Meanwhile, in print, in Singapore – Allianz GI is promoting its fixed income solutions and carrying on the active message:
Until next week…