Credit Suisse Asset Management has ambitious plans for the region, including Australia, and the recruitment of ING Investment Management’s small-cap team, and a new head of equities, marks the start of the rebuild, according to Keith Ince.

Ince, the executive vice chairman and head of asset management in Australia, said that the four-person hire announced last Friday was a “powerful addition to the market” which would give the manager the opportunity to provide more aggressive strategies, such as a long/short fund. “Credit Suisse has made a commitment to build up its asset management globally, but there’s a particular commitment to the region. They’ve built up capabilities in Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said. “And we have a joint venture in Korea and another … in China.” Robert Mann, the former head of fixed interest in Australia, has transferred to the Singapore office where he will be regional head of both fixed interest and equities. Ben Alexander took over as head of Australian fixed interest in March. Ince’s reporting line has also become regional, now through Hong Kong rather than Zurich. The new equities managers are: Stephen Giubin, head of Australian equities (previously senior portfolio manager at Schroder Investment Management), Rajeev de Silva as investment analyst (previously small cap analyst at ING), and Issam Eid and Steven Ng (previously co-heads of the ING small-cap fund). The four managers have also previously worked together at Macquarie Investment Management. Ince said there would be “one or two” additional hires to the investment team. He said the changes represented an opportunity to not only bring new product to the market but also to refocus Credit Suisse’s approach and style to better suit the Australian market. The small-cap team will have more capacity to play with at Credit Suisse, where the small-cap fund has about $320 million under management compared with over $1 billion at ING. It is generally felt that small-cap funds need to be capped at a little over the $1 billion mark to enable them to outperform. Credit Suisse has only about $400 million in broad-market Australian equities, which also provides an opportunity for new equities strategies. Ince said that the manager was “in the middle of the market”, with a total of $22 billion sourced from Australia. “Strategically we want to move up the market. Our whole strategy has to be about how we build and grow the business,” he said. “If we have to we will look at other ways to grow other than organic growth.” Ince joined Credit Suisse last year after a career which included being a co-founder of County Investment Management in the 1980s and co-founder of Portfolio Partners in the 1990s.

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