Goldman reshuffles asset management heads

The face of Goldman''s asset management business is changing under new leadership as it seeks to combine funds with private banking.

The new year ushers in new faces at Goldman Sachs' asset management business, with a new CIO and a new head of business development reporting in to a new managing director.

Peter Moody Brooks, who had spearheaded business development from Hong Kong, particularly for China, has left the firm, as has Ramikrishna (Ravi) Shanker, CIO in Singapore.

Shanker resigned in late 2001 because he wants to set up his own fund. He grew restless with the constraints of the firm's investment parameters and wanted to be able to take other kinds of risk. He hopes to have the new fund operational in a few months.

He has been replaced by two co-heads of IMD product management, Siew Hua-thio, who was already a fund manager at the firm in Singapore, and Kenny Tjan, who previously ran institutional and retail money at Rothschild Asset Management as investment director. They have responsibility for non-Japan Asian investments.

The situation with Brooks is less straightforward.

The business has a new managing director, Douglas Grip, who has moved to Hong Kong from New York to be co-head of the newly formed Investment Management Division (IMD) along with Tokyo-based Stephen Fitzgerald, who has already been in the role for about a year after serving as global head of fixed income. Grip had been president of Goldman Sachs' mutual funds group for five years.

The idea behind IMD is to strip out private wealth management from equities and couple it with fund management. "We feel clients are best served by professional advisory services," Grip explains. The firm has practiced this strategy for two years already in the United States and Europe, but until now Asia lacked the scale to do this, and local clients have only recently come to fully appreciate this kind of service.

In the process, says Grip, "Peter [Brooks] decided to pursue other opportunities. He's made a great contribution to the firm and we will miss him."

Other insiders say Brooks was actually asked to leave - "A new chief means new Indians," says one - but the firm sugared the pink slip with enough compensation to make Brooks exit with a smile. Goldman officials say the parting was amicable. Brooks could not be reached for a comment.

Brooks' replacement is Phil Gardner, co-head of global fixed income in London, who will be arriving in Singapore later this month to head non-Japan Asian business development. Says Grip: "The majority of our clients are institutional investors, and most of them invest in global fixed income. Phil has been speaking to them for four years, he already knows them, so it seemed sensible to bring him out here."

Reporting to Gardner will be the heads of IMD's four units: Siew and Tjan for portfolio management, and in Hong Kong Charles Robinson for third-party and high-net worth distribution, Beth O'Brien for cash management services and Hangjoo (John) Hahm for institutional distribution.

Grip says the top priority this year for he and Gardner is building the China business for both asset management and wealth management. Broadly his other tasks include continuing to build the regional asset management franchise, and to bolster wealth management by leveraging off Goldman's brokering operations and complement that with the advisory piece.

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