“The group as a whole wants to diversify more aggressively, to be more global in the way we source our assets.”
Henderson total assets under management are worth $124bn. The firm has been concentrated in sourcing assets from both the UK and continental Europe (80% of total), but has steadily seen increasing growth from the US (10-12%).
The group’s Asia business represents 3-4% of total AUM.
“What we would like to achieve over the next five years is to see that the source of assets under management moves toward 65% sourced from the UK and Europe, 20% from the US and 15% from pan-Asia. That is on target.”
The firm will largely look at organic growth of the business by ensuring the right product mix, but the option to acquire other firms is open, he added.
More people and products
Within the region, the firm’s current headcount is 81, of which half are in Singapore.
He expects to double regional headcount over the next five years.
Over the last six months, the firm has increased the Asia growth investment team to seven from two. The headcount includes Andrew Gillan, who left Aberdeen Asset Management to join the team in May.
Products are also set to expand, with an emphasis on locally-manufactured instruments to meet clients’ demand and risk appetite, he said.
“Increasingly in Asia we need to tailor the investment product to meet Asian investors’ needs. Hence, locally manufactured product is critical to success.”
Developing absolute return strategies and multi-asset funds are a possibility.
“Demand continues to be in high yield, which does not surprise us given the low interest rate environment. However, we are cautious in offering high yield bonds at this point of the cycle.
“Insightful investor education on asset classes such as multi-asset strategies is becoming more necessary.”
Because interest rates are poised to rise gradually, investing in strategies such as global credit or multi strategy is a more sensible approach, he said.
In the medium term, the firm may launch an ASEAN fund. Wealthy individuals in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand are beginning to show greater interest in overseas investing, he said.
“ASEAN markets can become quite exciting for mutual funds, provided the respective regulators relax their regulations to better conform with each other.”
Regulatory issues are also discouraging the firm’s participation in the ASEAN fund passporting initiative, he added.