Nikko Asset Appoints Blair Pickerell as Asia Head, Opens Hong Kong Office

Nikko Asset Management Co. appointed Blair Pickerell as head of Asia and will establish a representative office in Hong Kong, the Japanese manager of more than $106 billion said in an e-mailed statement today.

Pickerell, who will be based in Hong Kong, will also double as the Tokyo-based firm’s global chief marketing officer, the statement said. Pickerell left Morgan Stanley Investment Management in June where he was Asia head, the U.S. investment bank’s Hong Kong-based spokesman Nick Footitt said then.

Nikko hired Pickerell, a fluent Mandarin speaker, to help expand business outside its home country, the statement said. A 40 percent owner in Shenzhen, southern China-based Rongtong Fund Management Co., Nikko was also the first foreign asset manager to start marketing a fund internationally to invest in yuan- denominated class-A shares listed in China, it added.

“We plan to continue building out distribution and fund management capabilities throughout Asia,” Nikko Asset Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Timothy McCarthy said in the statement. Pickerell “has unparalleled expertise in our industry in Asia, including his pioneering of mutual fund distribution in Taiwan and throughout the region.”

Nikko plans to acquire a full fund management license for its Hong Kong office, which will operate as an offshoot of its Singapore subsidiary, the statement said.

Fund Background

As Asia chief executive of HSBC Holdings Plc’s asset management business before Morgan Stanley, Pickerell helped establish a China fund management venture with Shanxi Trust & Investment Corp.

Until the end of 2002, Pickerell was chairman of JF Funds, now a unit of JPMorgan Chase & Co. He quit that role after the U.S. fund manager broke off talks to set up a venture in China with Huaan Fund Management Co.

Nikko has offices in Japan, Singapore, London, New York and Hong Kong, today’s statement said. It manages money for Japanese institutional and retail clients and invests mainly in Japanese stocks, credit and real estate investment trusts.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bei Hu in Hong Kong at bhu5@bloomberg.net

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