SLI looks to increase Asia footprint
17 January 2013
News, Asia, Scotland
By Asia Asset Management
Standard Life Investments (SLI) has announced a senior hire and transfers to its Asia team, including the appointment of Allen Wang as investment director, head of Asia institutional business. Previously managing director and head of China/Taiwan institutional business at Blackrock, Mr. Wang will oversee and drive SLIs’ institutional business and consultant relationships.
The announcement, which took place on January 16, is one element of SLIs’ growth strategy for Asia. In addition to Mr. Wang’s hire, the firm announced it is in the process of transferring Malcolm Jones, investment director, Asia Pacific, absolute returns and fixed income, to Asia from its head office in Edinburgh. A qualified actuary for more than 20 years, Mr. Jones has also spent 15 years as a fund manager working on both equity and fixed income strategies. In his new role in Asia, he will continue to work closely with the fund management, product development and business teams on the ongoing development of investment propositions.
Finally, the company has announced the transfer of Jason Lam from head office as Asia business development manager.
“We are committed to growth in Asia and constantly strive to provide clients with the best possible investment solutions. That means having the right people in place to help understand and meet investors’ needs and expectations,” says Colin Clark, director, global client group’ Standard Life Investments. “Allen, Malcolm and Jason’s skills will add to the already impressive range of investment knowledge and experience within our Asia team. They will help drive our five key products: absolute return strategies; private equity; real estate; fixed income; and equities.”
Mr. Clark, who was in Hong Kong to announce the firm’s growth plans to clients, believes SLIs’ unique Focus on Change investment philosophy is critical to the company’s on-going success in the region.
“Focus on Change is about understanding the most important factors that drive the market price of an investment and the dynamics behind these drivers. We know that these factors are not inherently growth or value-biased, or only momentum driven. We also know that institutions are looking for flexible options, so we look beyond these factors to create opportunities to outperform throughout the cycle.
“While investment conditions have been challenging, our longer term investment performance continues to be robust with the money-weighted average for third party assets above median over one, three, five and ten years. For example, our various absolute returns strategy funds have outperformed their cash benchmarks over all key time periods since inception, and the strength of our mutual fund suite is shown by the proportion of eligible and actively managed funds (20 out of 32) rated ‘Silver’ or above by Standard & Poor’s in the UK (all performance stats as of 30 September 2012). Absolute returns are our fastest growing area of business in Asia by inflows.”
In addition to the key appointments, SLI is looking to build its wholesale team, based out of Hong Kong, to match the growth of guided wholesale business in the region.
Says David Peng, investment director and head of Asia: “Despite the economic downturn of recent times, we are seeing opportunities for growth in Asia. Overall, Asia is currently benefiting from some relaxation of monetary and fiscal policies, illustrated by moderate upturns in housing and infrastructure sectors. We view Taiwan as a strong potential market for our firm and we are considering various routes to expand our reach into China; we are assessing all different type of programs including QFII and RQFII, as well as the recently announced QDII.
“We also see significant sub-advisory opportunities throughout Asia, which will follow our Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank model in Japan, part of our Japan/Korea sub-region.
“Our parent company, global insurer Standard Life, was established in 1825 and, for 188 years, has been managing global financial assets. Since 1998, when Standard Life Investments was launched as a separate company, we have built a reputation for innovation in pursuit of our clients’ investment objectives, a reputation we are committed to building on as we move into 2013.”
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