Skip to main content
December 2023 - January 2024
AAM Magazine
Dec 2023 - Jan 2024
Back to 2023 Best of the Best Awards Supplement

Democratising investment management with innovation

By Goh Thean Eu   

2022 was a busy year for Singapore asset manager Lion Global Investors, as it launched new funds, formed partnerships, and showcased its innovation in the area of artificial intelligence. It was no surprise, therefore, to see the company taking home four awards at Asia Asset Management’s Best of the Best Awards 2023, namely Best Institutional House (Singapore), CIO of the Year (Singapore), Best Application of Artificial Intelligence (Singapore) and Best Application of Artificial Intelligence (ASEAN).

Lion Global Investors Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer Teo Joo Wah says one of the key drivers behind the firm’s winning the Best Institutional House (Singapore) is its clients.

“At the heart of our success are our clients, who have placed their continued trust in us. Our motivation to constantly strive to do better is guided by the confidence that our clients have in us,” Teo says. 

Teo, who has been Lion Global Investors’ CIO since 2014, was named CEO on December 1, 2022. Teo succeeded Gerard Lee who served Lion Global Investors as CEO for 12 years. 

Besides the support of the clients, Teo adds that all employees at Lion Global Investors are also “an integral part of our success”.

“Lion Global Investors is led by veterans in the asset management industry with our C-suite Officers and Portfolio Managers having an average of 29 and 25 years of industry experience respectively. With their leadership, the firm has continued its steady progress to be “Future Ready” for our clients by following through on the firm’s five strategic ABCDE pillars, which are A – Artificial Intelligence of Investments (AIOI), B – (smart) Beta and ETF, C – Curation, D – Digitisation and E – ESG,” he explains.

Teo adds that having a committed relationship team was also critical for winning the Best Institutional House (Singapore). He said that listening to clients, and understanding them, has allowed Lion Global Investors to meet the clients’ changing needs.

“Last but not least, I believe that key innovations and resilient market practices are the cornerstones of our success. Lion Global Investors made significant headway in one of our key innovations in 2022. As one of the front runners in the Asian region combining machine learning and fundamental investing strategies, we harnessed the strengths of artificial intelligence (AI) and the reasoning skills of our experienced team of fundamental managers to enhance our range of investment strategies available to clients,” Teo says.

Teo adds that the company’s exchange-traded fund (ETF) business also adopts a progressive approach by continuously reviewing its clients’ evolving investment requirements and delivering these products in a cost-efficient way. 

“The success of this approach is articulated through our four ETFs that now have a combined assets under management of S$758 million (US$569.58 million) as of end-December 2022. We are also heartened to share that the Lion-OCBC Securities Hang Seng TECH ETF was recently awarded Top ETF by Trading Turnover 2022 in the SGX Appreciation and Industry Awards,” he says. 

On winning the CIO of the Year (Singapore), Teo says that he is thankful that his job has “all the attributes I ever wanted for my career”. 

“I like accounting, macroeconomics and have always had a keen interest in current affairs. Work is enjoyable if you are doing what you like to do,” he says. 

He adds that he also finds “great satisfaction” in helping clients to achieve their investment objectives.

“These clients could be pension clients or charitable organisations with needy beneficiaries. However, my greatest passion lies in democratising investment management for retail investors, especially in relation to retirement planning,” he says.

Meanwhile, Ong Ai Ling, portfolio manager at Lion Global Investors and head of Artificial Intelligence of Investments (AIOI), says the company began exploring the idea of harnessing the power of AI and machine learning to analyse massive amounts of financial, technical and big data to uncover patterns that can create better portfolios and target better investment outcomes.

“When we created our first prototype, such AI-powered investment analytics did not exist. Our goal was to utilise emerging AI technologies from other fields and apply them to investment management to leapfrog existing traditional linear approaches. Through hard work and innovation, we have turned this goal into reality. 

“Our team’s vision is to bring this cutting-edge technology to mainstream investors in Singapore, ASEAN and beyond and to create a more equitable investment landscape. We firmly believe that AI has the power to transform the industry, and we are proud to be at the forefront of this change,” Ong says.