First Names Group appoints new head of Asia, CFO

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First Names Group, the Isle of Man-based provider of trusts, funds and corporate services, has made two major appointments, including one in Singapore, as it continues to grow.

The company said it had named Jean Pierre Koolmees to head up its Asian operations, effective immediately, as it looks to build its presence across Asia. Koolmees, who will join the group’s management committee and report to group chief executive Cengiz Somay (pictured, on the right, with Koolmees), comes to First Names from Vistra’s Singapore office, which he set up in 2010.

Originally from the Netherlands, Koolmees holds a law degree from Leiden University. As managing director of  Vistra Singapore, he oversaw the day-to-day operation of the business and its more than 120 employees, First Names Group said.

The position is a new one at First Names, a spokesperson said, and reflects that the company is currently focusing its expansion efforts on Asia.

Somay said establishing and building a strong presence in the key international financial centres of Hong Kong and Singapore has been “an important element” of First Names Group’s plans for long-term organic growth, and that Koolmees’s appointment showed that the company was “now well on our way towards this”.

Also at First Names Group, Eric Fady was named chief financial officer, joining the company from London-based Hyperion Insurance Group, headquartered in London, where he had also been Group CFO.

The role is also a new one, and the appointment is also effective immediately, First Names said.

Reporting directly to First Names Group CEO Somay, Fady will be responsible for overseeing the company’s financial support needs – “working closely with the board, management team, finance team, and [First Name’s] private equity partner, AnaCap Financial Partners” – in order to help it “achieve its vision for continued growth”, the company said in a statement.

Fady ‘s began his career as an accountant with KPMG in Lyon, and other roles prior to Hyperion included a stint as European CFO and vice president for strategy implementation at Dun & Bradstreet, the listed US data provider.

First Names Group is a global provider of trust, corporate and fund administration services, employing more than 750 people out of offices in Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Cyprus, Switzerland, the US, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Ireland, the UK, the British Virgin Islands, Hong Kong, Singapore and Japan.

It has grown rapidly in recent years, fueled by acquisitions, including the 2014 takeover of Guernsey’s Mercator Trust.  It began as the international division of Isle of Man-based IFG Group Plc, which was the subject of a July, 21012 management buyout, backed by AnaCap Financial. It re-branded as First Names Group shortly thereafter.