For a number of global asset managers, expansion in Asia has been as a result of buoyant business elsewhere in the region.
This is reflected by British fund manager, Jupiter Asset Management, opening a Hong Kong office in April, in an attempt to attract more investors from across the region.
Jupiter said that the launch was part of a broader strategy to diversify its client base, as it seeks to derive a growing portion of its AUM from international markets. The firm already had a presence in Singapore and Taiwan, but its Hong Kong operation is its first fully-fledged office outside of Europe.
Similarly, New York-based fund consultant Casey, Quirk & Associates LLC opened its first Asia Pacific office in Hong Kong on February 21. This was in response to growing demand for the firm’s advisory services, it says.
Daniel Celeghin, the Casey, Quirk & Associates partner appointed head of the new office in the territory, predicts that Asia Pacific investors will make up a quarter of the new revenue opportunities in the global asset management industry over the next five years.
“That belief is based on Casey Quirk more than doubling in size over the past five years, a development largely driven by the significant growth of our Asia Pacific business,” adds Yariv Itah, Casey, Quirk & Associates’ managing partner.
Mr. Celeghin sees Hong Kong as the ideal base in the region to address this growing demand.
That said, however, Singapore is another Asian asset management hub that foreigner fund managers are looking to tap into. On June 4, Canadian pension manager Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ) unveiled plans to inaugurate a regional headquarters in Singapore within the next five years as part of its global expansion plan.
The firm’s chief executive officer, Michael Sabia, says that CDPQ will hire 50 to 60 people as part of these expansion plans.
It currently has a branch in Beijing, while plans to open offices in Mumbai and Sydney are on the drawing board.
New York-based asset manager GoldenTree in June moved into Singapore, hiring Shahriar Saadullah, former head of Asia Pacific for Citigroup’s global markets’ international fund distribution group. In his new role as managing director he will run the company’s business development in the region, reporting to Kathy Sutherland, the firm’s global business development head.
Ms. Sutherland sees this launch as an indication of the firm’s commitment to investors in the region, while demonstrating the growing relevance of GoldenTree product offerings.
Further north, securities and financial services consultancy AlfaSec Advisors announced the opening of its Tokyo office, and the appointment of Kyoichi Murakawa as chief representative, Japan in March.
According to Mr. Murakawa, opening a Tokyo office highlights AlfaSec’s commitment to this strategically important market and, in particular, its growing focus on cross-border investment activity from Japan.
In fact, this is a two-way street. As overseas fund managers have looked to access the land of the rising sun, their Japanese counterparts are just as eager to raise their overseas exposure.
This latter trend explains Nomura Asset Management (Nomura AM) opening an office in Dubai in June with a view to tapping into the vast surplus of oil revenues held by the Middle East’s sovereign wealth funds (SWFs). The firm has appointed Tarek Fadlallah, a veteran of Nomura in the Middle East, as chief executive officer.
Nomura AM said the firm would use its platform in the Gulf emirate to promote and market its international funds to SWFs, pensions and other institutions.
Elsewhere, global asset management and financial giants have likewise strived to maximise their penetration in Asia’s promising emerging markets.
For one, State Street Corporation opened an office in Shanghai in January, which is tasked with providing alternative investment solutions to support the firm’s strategic hedge fund clients as they, in turn, expand their business in China. The setup will also support client and business development initiatives in China for State Street’s alternative investment solutions business in private equity and real estate assets.
A short while later, Northern Trust launched a Malaysia representative office in support of its current institutional clients, as well as developing its local business. Chief Representative Ariani Rustam, a former chief executive in risk management, operations, and quantitative analytics with Malaysia’s central bank, leads the office.