Head of MSCI/Barra steps down

The regional MD role will be broken up among offices as Olivier D''Assier moves on.

Olivier DÆAssier, vice president and Asia-Pacific head of MSCI/Barra, has resigned for personal reasons after seven years with the firm. He has run the business from Tokyo since 2003 but has wanted to return to Singapore, where he is a permanent resident and has a family.

The company had suggested he move to Hong Kong to take up a regional product role, but once DÆAssier decided that the lifestyle move to Singapore was more important, MSCI/Barra decided not to replace him with a regional position. There is a certain irony in this, because one of his first decisions as regional VP at Barra in Singapore was to close that office and consolidate it into the Hong Kong one, in 2000.

Instead the company will allow the country heads to operate from its three hubs, with Deborah Yang serving as managing director in Hong Kong and Michael Anderson running Sydney. Both of them came from the MSCI side of the business. Philippe Ballet has recently joined from Credit Suisse Trust Bank in Tokyo to take over the Tokyo business. This is possible because the merger with MSCI in 2004 has given each office enough heft that they warrant an executiveÆs full attention.

DÆAssier says Barra û now MSCI/Barra since the 2004 merger û more than doubled its risk management business in Asia over the course of his tenure. ôWe opened China, and now have 23 clients there,ö he says, noting that top pension fund and asset owners use the Barra system of total enterprise management. He joined the firm in Singapore in 1998 after stints as a stock broker with Nikko Securities in the Lion City and the old Smith Newcourt (before its acquisition by Merrill Lynch) in London.

He intends to take two months of gardening leave and consider new options, which he says will be quantitative, involve investment management, and be based in Asia. ôI have not decided on my next move yet, and until then Iácan be found on the back nine of the Serapong course at the Sentosa Golf Club,ö he says.