Manulife Asset Management and Trust has launched a US-focused equity feeder fund in the Philippines, according to the firm’s website.
The Manulife American Growth Feeder Fund, which was launched this month, directly invests in the firm’s American Growth Fund, according to its prospectus.
The launch of the fund comes at a time when the US equity market continues to outperform Asia-Pacific’s. Year-to-date, the S&P 500 has returned 12.58%, which compares to 4.77% for the MSCI AC Asia (ex-Japan), according to data from FE.
FSA sought more information, but the firm was not able to reply to queries in time for publication.
In the Philippines, only a few mutual fund products provide investors with US equity exposure. Out of the around 100 unit investment trust funds (UITFs) managed by banks and trust companies, only four of them focus in US equities, according to data from the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP).
Manulife AM has been previously launched products that offer offshore exposure to domestic investors.
In March, the firm launched the Global Preferred Income Feeder Fund , which was its first global offering in the Philippines. Last year, it introduced a Hong Kong-focused equity product and a fixed income fund that invests in Asia bonds.
In total, the firm now offers nine mutual fund products, three of which invest locally while the others have an Asia investment focus. The firm established a fund management business in the country in 2017.
Manulife Trust is one of the few stand-alone trust corporations in the Philippines, as the BSP only approved the establishment of such firms in 2015. Previously, trusts were only allowed to operate as departments within banks.
In the Philippines, mutual fund products are regulated by different regulators, which results in different terminology.
Banks and their trust departments and stand-alone trusts distribute UITFs and are regulated by the central bank, while investment companies distribute mutual funds and are regulated by the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The American Growth Feeder Fund versus its benchmark and sector