PineBridge Investments, the money manager controlled by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, hired Stephan van Vliet to expand a business that invests assets for insurers.
Van Vliet was named head of insurance asset management, a newly created post, and will be based in Hong Kong, PineBridge said yesterday in a statement. He had been head of investments for an ING Groep NV unit in the Asia-Pacific region.
“There is an increased need and opportunity to coordinate and enhance the firm’s expertise and coverage in this area,” David Jiang, chief executive officer of New York-based PineBridge, said in an e-mail. “There is a general trend in the market towards outsourcing.”
PineBridge has been working to add clients since it was sold by American International Group Inc. to Li’s Pacific Century Group in 2010. The firm managed $69.1 billion as of Sept. 30, according to its website, including about $26 billion for insurers.
Van Vliet is “uniquely positioned in the confluence of asset management and insurance, bringing a dynamic perspective to this growing market segment,” Jiang said in the statement.
At ING Insurance Asia-Pacific, van Vliet was responsible for asset allocations for 10 insurers in the region, PineBridge said. He previously was head of insurance asset management at the Amsterdam-based company’s European investment manager.
Asset managers such as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and BlackRock Inc. have been expanding offerings and adding staff to win business from insurers. Goldman Sachs oversees more than $130 billion for insurance companies, and hired Neil Moge from JPMorgan last year to lead a London-based team. JPMorgan added a bond manager from Goldman Sachs in June.
The money managers say they can help insurers deal with increased regulation and provide expertise beyond the safest debt, with yields near record lows. PineBridge manages assets including $16.9 billion in equities, $28.1 billion in bonds, and $16.3 billion in alternatives, a category that includes private equity.
“PineBridge is particularly well placed to serve insurance clients because of its existing relationships and heritage,” Jiang wrote.
He said van Vliet will help build a global team for insurance asset management. Clients are mainly sellers of life coverage and annuities, Jiang said.
Pacific Century was founded by Li and has also purchased Asian insurers from ING for more than $2 billion. Li is the son of Li Ka-Shing, Asia’s richest man. ING has been divesting units in North America, Asia and Latin America to comply with terms of its 2008 bailout.
PineBridge hired Jiang as CEO from Bank of New York Mellon Corp. in 2012 as it worked to reduce ties with AIG. The business had been used by New York-based AIG to invest its own funds before AIG sold it for about $500 million to raise cash to help repay its rescue by U.S. taxpayers.