Citi AM set to lose another fund manager

Tay Soo-How is reportedly leaving the firm.

Citigroup Asset Management is said to be losing another senior fund manager in Asia. Market sources say Tay Soo-How, director and head of Asian fixed income in Singapore, will depart soon. Tay declined to comment and a firm spokeswoman did not return calls.

The rumoured departure comes after Asian equity CIO Anthony Muh resigned earlier this year to join former Citigroup managing director Alan Harden at Alliance Trust, when that firm opened an office in Hong Kong.

Citigroup has recently announced a swap with Baltimore-based Legg Mason in which it gives away its asset management business in return for Legg Mason's brokerage operations.

Legg Mason has had a presence in Singapore since 2000 but gained prominence when one of its affiliates, fixed income and currency manager Western Asset Management, acquired Rothschild Asset Management in early 2004. Legg Mason's equities division also maintains an office there.

The acquisition of Citigroup's regional asset management business should prove a sizeable addition. Rothschild managed around S$1 billion at the time of its acquisition. Citigroup's Singapore team manages around S$3 billion ($1.8 billion) in fixed income assets.

Tay has been instrumental in building Citigroup's bond fund assets and reputation among regional institutional clients. His team includes two other portfolio managers and a credit analyst. He has been with the firm for 11 years, lending it stability and consistency, and he has led the way in diversifying his mandates into local currencies as well as global assets, according to people familiar with the firm.

But despite these achievements, the firm remains only a mid-sized player in Asia, despite its heavy-hitting pedigree, and market sources report a "shake-up" of personnel in the wake of the Legg Mason deal is in progress.

On the business side, Denise Allen is managing director for Asia, with Freeman Tsang responsible for retail distribution in Hong Kong and Carolyn Lu and Henry Choon handling institutional sales.