Weekly roundup of people news, May 5

Future Fund deputy CIO steps down; Blackstone real estate specialist departs; NZ Super CEO to leave; ART appoints risk heads; MLC Life gets CIO from parent; Fidelity names HK chief; and more.
Weekly roundup of people news, May 5


Wendy Norris

Deputy chief investment officer of change and Innovation Wendy Norris has resigned from the Future Fund, Australia’s A$226 billion sovereign wealth fund, after 13 years.

Norris is set to take on the position of chief executive at OneFortyOne, a vertically integrated Trans-Tasman wood fibre company, with effect from June.

“Wendy has made a tremendous contribution to the Future Fund and leaves our organisation as a highly respected investment leader. Taking on a CEO position is a natural next step in her career after 13 years of dedicated service at the Agency and we wish Wendy every success in her new role,” the Future Fund told AsianInvestor in an emailed statement.

At the Future Fund, Norris was responsible for over A$60 billion of direct investments that include forest/timberlands, private equity, and infrastructure, including airports and ports.

CEO Raphael Arndt has become acting chief investment officer, the Fund said.

Following the resignation of Future Fund's former investment chief Sue Brake in June last year, the SWF appointed three deputy chief investment officers to support Arndt.

Wendy Norris was named deputy chief investment officer, change and innovation; Ben Samild as deputy chief investment officer, portfolio construction; and, Alicia Gregory joined the senior leadership team as deputy chief investment officer, private markets.

Norris’ team will now report to Arndt, and the Deputy CIO change and innovation role will be assessed once a new permanent CIO is in place, a Future Fund spokesperson told AsianInvestor.


Ayush Chaudhary

Blackstone’s Hong Kong-based principal in the real estate group Ayush Chaudhary has left the firm on April 28 after over 12 years, AsianInvestor understands.

Chaudhary joined Blackstone in 2010 as an analyst in the real estate group and has been involved in various real estate acquisitions across Asia.

He became a principal in January 2018.

Before joining Blackstone, Chaudhary was an analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch's real estate principal division from 2008 to 2010.

Blackstone declined to comment on his departure.

Matt Whineray

NZ Super Fund chief executive Matt Whineray has announced his plan to resign and end his 15-year tenure with the fund.

Whineray plans to leave at the end of the year, according to a statement on May 3.

In the statement, he said that he is not leaving to take up a new role but is looking forward to taking time off to think through his next steps.

”In his five years as CEO, and previously as chief investment officer, Matt has presided over significant growth in the NZ Super Fund, well in excess of our investment performance benchmarks,” said Catherine Drayton, chair of the Guardians.

The Board will begin the process to find Whineray’s replacement in the near future, a spokesperson from NZ Super told AsianInvestor.


Nick Horn

Australian Retirement Trust (ART) has promoted Nick Horn to head of investment risk and Bridget Piggott to head of risk.

Both candidates were promoted internally, closely following the departure of ART's divisional risk manager of investments Kate Griffin, who left the risk team to join Rest Super.

Horn now reports to chief risk officer Anne Browne, and Piggott will report to the fund’s general manager for risk and assurance Dianna Orbell.

Horn was previously a senior manager of investment risk and compliance at ART, a position he also held at SunSuper prior to the two funds merging last year.

Before that, Horn worked at Suncorp and QIC.

Piggott was promoted from senior risk manager, a role she also had at QSuper for 11 years before the fund merged with ART in January last year.

ART is also currently in the process of finding a new chief of retirement and a chief member officer.


Hiroyuki Endo

MLC Life Insurance has appointed Hiroyuki Endo as chief investment officer and deputy chief financial officer.

Endo was most recently the general manager of the separate account investment department for Nippon Life Insurance, MLC Life's parent company.

He started his career with Nippon Life in 1995 and has since held several roles, including chief manager, cash management department, and deputy general manager of the investment risk management department.

Endo succeeds Yosuke Nakano, who will leave MLC Life to join Nippon Life's global business planning department based in Mumbai.

Nakano will become general manager and head of Indian business for the global business planning department.

Additionally, Ayako Tsuge has succeeded Endo as general manager of the separate account investment department for Nippon Life Insurance, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.


Yao Bo

Ping An Group’s co-chief executive officer Jason Yao Bo resigned due to personal and family reasons, effective April 26, the Chinese life insurance company said.

He becomes a non-executive director of the company with effect from April 26.

As a result, Ping An now has five non-executive directors, four executive directors, and six independent directors.

Yao’s responsibilities have been taken over by chief operating officer Rebecca Fu Xin and chief financial officer Zhang Zhichun, the firm told AsianInvestor, without providing further details.

Yao had been working remotely in Hong Kong since August 2022, while the company headquarters is in Shenzhen, Chinese media reported.

He attended and spoke at Ping An’s 2022 annual result press conference in Shenzhen on March 16.

Yao joined Ping An in May 2001.

He was company CFO from 2010 to 2022 and chief actuary from 2012 to March 2021.

In July 2020, he became co-CEO alongside two other co-CEOs, Xie Yonglin and Jessica Tan Sin-yin.


Ji Bing

Mirae Asset Global Investments (Hong Kong) appointed former BlackRock China joint venture head Ji Bing as the head of ETF, effective on April 11.

Based in Hong Kong, Ji reports to CEO Cho Wanyoun and will oversee Mirae Asset’s ETF sales and ETF portfolio management unit.

Meanwhile, as reported by AsianInvestor on April 14, Mirae Asset on April 11 also hired Brenda Bing from BlackRock as head of sales, China to lead ETF Sales China, reporting to Ji.

The firm declined to comment on whether these hires are for newly created roles or replacements.

Ji has over 25 years of experience in the fund industry.

Prior to joining Mirae Asset, Ji was with BlackRock for over 14 years until early 2023. He was the first general manager of BlackRock’s China JV Blackrock CCB Wealth Management from October 2020 to December 2022.


Mark Chan

Columbia Threadneedle Investments named Mark Chan as head of wholesale, Asia, effective April 22.

Chan took over from Dennis Quah, who is leaving the business at the end of June 2023 after more than seven years.

Chan reports to Jon Allen, head of Asia Pacific, the firm told AsianInvestor.

Based in Hong Kong, Chan joined Columbia Threadneedle in 2013 and is currently the chief executive officer of the Hong Kong office and the head of institutional business, Greater China.

Under his expanded remit, Chan will lead teams based in Hong Kong and Singapore.


Maria Abbonizio

Fidelity International (Fidelity) has made two leadership appointments in Hong Kong. 

Charlotte Chan was appointed head of workplace and personal investing, Hong Kong, and Maria Abbonizio was named head of Hong Kong.

Abbonizio will report to Rajeev Mittal, managing director of Asia Pacific ex-Japan, effective July 1.

She will also retain her current role of global chief administrative officer, investment management.

Abbonizio, who joined Fidelity in 2004 and has spent most of her 18 years with the firm based in Hong Kong, is also global co-chair of Fidelity International’s LGBT+ network.

Charlotte Chan

Chan rejoined Fidelity in 2017 after originally joining the firm in 2010.

She is a board member of the Pension Schemes Association and vice-chairman of the member communication subcommittee of the Hong Kong Retirement Schemes Association.

Chan reports to Keith Metters, head of global workplace investing, effective May 1.

Both appointments follow the retirement of KP Luk, who led the Hong Kong workplace and personal investing business for more than 12 years and has served as Head of Hong Kong for the past three years.

Luk will retire by the end of June, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Akihiro Hayashi

Investment firm Muzinich opened an office in Tokyo and has hired Akihiro Hayashi as country head of Japan and Tokio Morita as senior advisor, both effective May 1.

Hayashi will report to Andrew Tan, Asia Pacific CEO based in Singapore, and Justin Muzinich, (global) CEO in New York.

He was most recently at Barings Japan where he spent eight years and his latest role was director of institutional sales.

A Barings spokesperson declined to reply to AsianInvestor’s inquries about when Hayashi left the firm and who replaced him.

Tokio Morita

Morita has spent over 36 years at the Ministry of Finance and the Japanese Financial Services Agency in a variety of roles, most recently as vice minister for international affairs, financial services agency.

He was also a member of the Basel Committee and at IOSCO, served as the chair of the Asia and Pacific regional committee, and co-chair of the Follow-Up Group to the 2015 Cross-Border Regulation Task Force.

Prior to hiring of Hayashi and Morita, Japanese clients have been serviced through a combination of different business development people out of Singapore, New York and London, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.


Cohen & Steers has appointed Abhi Shroff as senior vice president and head of institutional distribution for Asia Pacific.

Abhi Shroff

He reports to Marc Haynes, senior vice president and head of international institutional distribution.

Shroff will also be in charge of the investment manager's newly opened office in Singapore.

Shroff joins Cohen & Steers from Dimensional Fund Advisors, where he was head of the institutional business, Asia ex-Japan. Before that, he was head of South Asia at PIMCO.

His role is newly created, a spokeperson told AsianInvestor, adding that his responsibilities and regions wer previously split among members of the international distribution team, also led by Haynes.

New York-based Cohen & Steers specialises in real assets and alternative income, including real estate, preferred securities, infrastructure, resource equities, commodities as well as multi-strategy solutions.

It has offices in London, Dublin, Hong Kong, Tokyo and Singapore.

Dimensional Fund Advisors did not respond to a request for comment on Shroff’s replacement at the time of publication.

This story has been updated.


Man Wing Chung

VMS Group (VMS) has appointed Man Wing Chung as group chief investment officer (CIO), effective May 2.

Based in Hong Kong, Chung reports to VMS chairman Benny Chong, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

The company did not clarify who was carrying out CIO-related responsibilities prior to Chung.

Chung will lead the expansion of VMS’s investment capabilities across strategies in its key markets, including China and other parts of Asia.

He will also play a key role in formulating future investment direction and new product offerings.

In addition, he will spearhead the establishment of the VMS’s external asset manager sourcing, screening and monitoring system.

Prior to joining VMS, Chung was an investment director at Value Partners. 

Value Partners did not respond to AsianInvestor’s inquiries about Chung’s replacement.

Chung has previously also worked with alternatives manager Ellis Brady Management, JTM Capital Partners, Jardine Fleming Asset Management, and HSBC Asset Management. 


Rockpool Capital has hired private banking veteran Nick Chan to head its multi-family office business in Asia.

Nick Chan

Chan, who started his role on May 2, will drive Rockpool Capital’s multi-family office strategy and support its intergenerational client base across the region.

Chan, based in Hong Kong, was previously head of sales, Asia, at RBC Wealth Management.

He has also worked with Goldman Sachs Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management.

This is a new role due to the expansion of Rockpool’s multi-family-office business and growth in its high net worth/next-generation client base in the past 12 months, a spokesperson told AsianInvestor.

Chan will work closely with co-founder and CEO Michael Tung; COO Maurice Koo and Andrew Mak, while also parterning with the investment team at Rockpool managed by co-founder and CIO Ben Wong, the spokesperson said.


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