By Xie Yu

HONG KONG (Reuters) – UBS Group AG has appointed a new manager to oversee a $2 billion Asian high yield fund, the Swiss bank said in a statement, after a five-month hiatus in top leadership at the fund that was hit hard by China’s property sector debt crisis.

Raymond Lin Gui will join UBS’ asset management arm in Hong Kong on May 2, as head of portfolio management for Asia fixed income, according to the statement on Thursday.

Gui, who previously worked as co-chief investment officer and senior portfolio manager at Hong Kong-based Income Partners Asset Management, will be the lead manager of the Asian High Yield fund, the statement said.

He will report to Hayden Briscoe, head of global emerging markets and Asia pacific fixed income.

Gui’s predecessor, Singapore-based Ross Dilkes, left UBS late last year. The Asian High Yield fund lost around 18% in 2021, according to its factsheet, mainly dented by a market rout in China’s embattled property companies.

At the end of 2021, the fund held large positions in dollar-denominated bonds issued by several troubled Chinese developers, including China Evergrande Group, Kaisa Group and Sunac China, according to Bloomberg, which first reported the development.

The three developers have missed payment deadlines on some of their debt and their shares have been suspended from trading in Hong Kong.

The UBS fund has lost another 16% so far this year, with more than 30% of the portfolio exposed to the Asia real estate sector at the end of February, according to its factsheet.

Assets under the fund have tumbled by more than $1 billion since the beginning of this year.

Gui will work with Smit Rastogi, who has been at UBS for more than five years and was appointed as co-portfolio manager for the fund in January this year, said the statement.

(Reporting by Xie Yu; Editing by Sumeet Chatterjee, Kirsten Donovan)