NETHERLANDS – Hans Stoter, CIO at ING Investment Management, has told IPE that his firm is “committed” to emerging market debt (EMD) as it began re-building its market-leading $13bn (€10bn) capability after losing a number of key personnel to a rival asset manager.

The statement came as ING announced the hire of Marco Ruijer as lead portfolio manager for hard-currency emerging market debt. Ruijer joins from Dutch competitor MN, where he ran $5bn as a senior fund manager.

“We are in the process of rebuilding the EMD team, are making solid progress, and expect more senior appointments in the coming weeks,” Stoter said in a written response to IPE’s request for comment. “As demonstrated by the announcement regarding Marco Ruijer, there is no shortage of experienced EMD talent with top-notch track records wanting to join ING IM.”

The firm suffered a big blow when Neuberger Berman hired the co-heads of its EMD team, Rob Drijkoningen and Gorky Urquieta, earlier this year. Their colleagues Bart van der Made, Raoul Luttik, Prashant Singh, Nish Popat and Jennifer Gorgoll are confirmed as having moved to Neuberger.

IPE understands that another 12 of the ING IM team will join them over the coming weeks, and that Drijkoningen and Urquieta have already started recruiting additional team members at their new firm.

“EMD is and will remain a very large and important asset class for ING Investment Management,” said Stoter. “We are committed to continuing to offer the full range of existing ING IM EMD Strategies and will introduce new ones where and when appropriate to ensure that we remain at the forefront of this asset class.”

“ING IM has and will continue to allocate ample resources to ensure the best EMD products we can offer clients,” Stoter continued. “We have secured the quality of the management of our EMD assets by allocating additional resources from our well-staffed and experienced fixed income teams.”

He added that the portfolios have continued to perform well and that asset loss has been “relatively low since the departures”.

IPE will carry an exclusive interview with Drijkoningen and the chairman and chief executive of Neuberger Berman, George Walker, in its upcoming May issue.