The BlackRock Asian Growth Leaders Fund aims to capture growth opportunities in Asia, with an emphasis on mid-cap companies and companies poised to grow in a cyclical upturn.
The vehicle will invest at least 70% of its total assets in the shares of companies domiciled in, or having a predominant part of their activity in, Asia excluding Japan.
The fund is co-managed by Andrew Swan, BlackRock’s head of Asian equities, and Emily Dong, portfolio manager in the Asian Equities team. It was previously only available to professional investors in Hong Kong.
The investment manager also has plans to make the fund available in other countries, according to a company spokesperson; however the company would not disclose the details ahead of regulatory approvals. The scheme is already available for retail investors in Singapore.
The fund house sees “compelling investment opportunities in Asia” due to a “profound” shift in the region’s economic growth drivers, according to Swan.
“Regional economies are moving away from the traditional manufacturing and export-oriented industries, which have formed the basis of their growth stories to date,” said Swan.
“As the population of Asian countries becomes wealthier, an emerging middle class is driving an explosion in demand for goods and services. The fund aims to deliver capital growth through playing to the key theme of long-term structural growth reshaping the domestic Asian landscape.”
As of 31 March, the $105.5m fund had deployed around 30% of the assets in mid-cap stocks.
The fund has a concentrated and high conviction portfolio of 30 to 60 Asian companies, which the fund manager believes to be “growth leaders” of the future. Following an unconstrained investment strategy, the fund had invested 43% of its assets in off-benchmark stocks.
Since its launch on 31 October 2012, the fund has registered 34% net return, outperforming its benchmark MSCI AC Asia ex-Japan Index by 20% as at the end of May 2014, according to the company statement.
It levies an initial charge of 5% and annual management fees of 1%.
In January, the investment manager appointed Oisin Crawley as head of research for the firm’s Asian fundamental equity team and the fund house in April received its first renminbi Qualified Foreign Institutional Investor (RQFII) license from the China Securities Regulatory Commission.