Spy has been out with his magnifying glass pounding the streets and eavesdropping on gossip in cafés, but the summer lull has arrived and the world of Asian asset management is getting a little siesta time. Nonetheless, Spy has unearthed a few juicy tidbits on the jobs merry-go-round.
Whilst savouring a fine Laphroaig (10-year-old vintage), Spy heard that Heidi Sutton, the all-powerful chief marketing officer at JP Morgan Asset Management in Hong Kong has left. Unconfirmed rumours are that she is joining a highly-respected Australian asset management firm.
Meanwhile, Sabrina Gan of Blackrock in Singapore has moved across to Fidelity where she is reunited with former colleague and Schroders alumnus Szu Yi Chin. She will be helping with the Fidelity retail efforts.
Kendy Lee, formerly the responsible officer at Swiss Privilege in Hong Kong, has moved to become head of agency talent at Metlife. Spy has been spotting Metlife's Snoopy on billboards and buses as the US insurance giant aggressively roles out its offering.
In Thailand, Spy hears that Anis Tiasiri at Tisco Asset Management has stepped back from his third-party product development role and his position will now be managed by Polamin "K" Wuthithanakul. Thailand is the hottest offshore fund market in Southeast Asia right now, so Spy expects K to have a number of visits to his door.
Prudential has been spotted in Singapore newspapers and bus stops pushing its Pru Wealth product. No mention of which asset management companies are being favoured but Standard Chartered and UOB are both highlighted distribution partners.
Spy is hearing persistent chitter chatter in the market that Old Mutual is looking to buy one of Singapore's leading financial advisory businesses and is snooping around with accountants and cheque book in hand. With Aviva having bought PIAS and St James's Place having acquired The Henley Group last year, Spy thinks we may have to drop the word "independent" when discussing IFAs in the tropical city-state....
The shake up at Coutts International has already started after their acquisition by Union Bancaire Privée. Spy hears that the company cultures are very different and so is UBP's method of choosing third-party funds. Nonetheless, the Asian arm may be less affected than Europe as UBP had a very small team in Asia. Perhaps a case of 'watch this space'?
Spy noticed that Morningstar's Global Investor Experience Study includes the media as part of the country-by-country assessment process. The press is an "important, although often overlooked" part of the investor experience. "Media reports that focus on personalities and short-term performance leaders are not helpful," the firm said. But examining a fund's risks, costs and long-term performance provides investors with greater confidence that it is safe to own funds. Fund Selector Asia wholeheartedly agrees.
Finally, Spy can't let it pass unremarked that today is the 40th birthday of one of our favourite industry friends: Michael Li, director and head of Asia business at FE. Happy birthday, Michael, and may there be many, many more.