Western Asset promotes Chia-Liang Lian to co-head of emerging markets debt team

13 March 2014   Category: News, Asia   By Asia Asset Management

Legg Mason subsidiary Western Asset Management Company (Western Asset) has promoted Chia-Liang (CL) Lian to co-head of its emerging markets debt team, effective April 2014. He will report to S Kenneth Leech, co-chief investment officer of the firm. Building upon Mr. Lian’s successful efforts in expanding the Asia ex-Japan investment team, the appointment will create a two-year succession plan for the emerging markets debt investment effort. He will serve as co-head alongside Keith Gardner, who intends to retire in April of 2016, after nearly 22 years with Western Asset.

The promotion of Mr. Lian reflects the importance that Asian markets play in global emerging markets debt indices, which Western Asset expects to continue to grow as global markets evolve. He will balance his time between the Pasadena, CA headquarters of Western Asset in the US and its Singapore office until 2015, at which point, he will permanently move to the headquarters.

Mr. Lian has 21 years of investment experience, having worked in the emerging markets business for his entire career. Prior to joining the company, he spent approximately six years with Pacific Investment Management Company (PIMCO), where he served as head of emerging Asia portfolio management. Previously, he spent eight years at JP Morgan and Merrill Lynch as a sovereign debt strategist. From 1993 to 1997, he was a senior economist at the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Western Asset also promoted Desmond Soon, one of the firm’s Singapore investment team members, to co-head of investment management, Asia, also effective April 2014.

Mr. Soon has 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. He joined Western Asset in 2012 after approximately 16 years with various asset management firms. He joined the company from ST Asset Management, where as a portfolio manager, he implemented an investment strategy for an Asian credit portfolio to buy into undervalued Asia Pacific bank capital and China real estate bonds. He was previously at AMP Capital Partners and DBS Asset Management. Prior to that, he was at Pacific Asset Management for approximately 12 years. He began his career as a sell-side analyst.

Mr. Leech said: “Our emerging market team model promotes close teamwork among the on the ground investment teams around the world, backed by the resources of a global firm. We believe that appointing CL to lead our future efforts will only serve to better integrate our efforts, particularly with the growing importance of the Asian region. And, we’re very pleased to have a long transition with Keith Gardner, a long-time member of our team, over the next two years.”