Vietcombank fund management unit head appointed

Franklin Templeton Investments and Vietcombank, Vietnam’s Bank for Foreign Trade, have picked Avinash Satwalekar to be the new chief executive of Vietcombank Fund Management (VCBF), an investment management firm focused on Vietnam.

The appointment is subject to regulatory approval by Vietnam’s State Securities Commission. Satwalekar will succeed Gregory Robinson-Kok, who has served as CEO since 2008. Franklin Templeton acquired a 49% share in VCBF in February 2008, and the remaining 51% of VCBF is owned by Vietcombank.

Satwalekar will relocate to Ho Chi Minh City to manage all investment and operational aspects of the joint venture. He will work closely with senior representatives from both Franklin Templeton and Vietcombank to continue to grow and expand the local business. 

William Y. Yun, executive vice-president, Franklin Templeton Alternatives Strategies, said: “Franklin Templeton’s relationship with VCBF combines the benefits of a local asset management presence in Vietnam – one of Asia’s fastest growing economies – with Franklin Templeton’s global investment expertise and resources.”

Pham Quang Dzung, deputy chief executive of Vietcombank and chairman of the Board of VCBF, said the aim is to make Vietcombank Fund Management the leading asset manager in Vietnam.

Approximately 10% of Franklin Templeton’s $725bn assets under management are currently from investors in the Asia Pacific region, and Vietnam has been a growing area of focus in expanding the company’s penetration in the region. Franklin Templeton first established its presence in the region in the late 1980s and now has offices in Australia, China, India, Japan, Korea and Singapore. 

Satwalekar joined the company in 1996. Before assuming his current role, he was vice-president, portfolio manager and research analyst for Franklin Portfolio Advisors, and lead manager for FPA’s private small cap accounts. 

Previously, he was vice-president and research analyst for Franklin Equity Group and worked with Merrill Lynch’s Debt Origination Group.

His predecessor Robinson-Kok has been appointed to a new role as regional head (Asia) for Franklin Templeton Alternative Strategies, reporting to Kent Strazza, the division’s managing director. Robinson-Kok will be based in Singapore to partner Franklin Templeton’s Global Advisory Services distribution teams on a strategy for the Alternative Strategies’ investment platforms.

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