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Manulife AM launches income fund in the Philippines

Manulife Asset Management and Trust has launched eight mutual fund products since setting up locally in 2017.

The firm debuted the Manulife Global Preferred Income Feeder Fund in the Philippines in late-March, according to the firm’s website.

The product is a mixed-asset fund that invests at least 70% of its AUM in stocks and bonds globally. The product is suitable for investors with an “aggressive” risk profile, the website shows.

FSA sought more information from the firm, but it did not provide additional details, noting that it plans to make an official announcement next week.

There are only a few multi-asset products in the Philippines that invest offshore. Out of the 25 mixed-asset unit investment trust funds (UITFs) in the country, there are only three global products and one US-focused fund, according to data from the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP).

Manulife AM’s mixed-asset fund is also the firm’s first global offering in the Philippines.

In total, Manulife AM in the Philippines offers eight funds, three of which invest locally while the others have an Asia investment focus.

The firm offered its first products in the Philippines that invest in offshore markets in August last year. They include an Asia-focused equity fund and an Asia-Pacific Reit product. The firm launched two other products later in the year: the Manulife Dragon Growth Equity Feeder Fund, a Hong Kong-focused product, and the Manulife Asia Dynamic Bond Feeder Fund.

Manulife Trust was established in June last year after it received approval from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, to operate as a trust corporation. This enables Manulife to distribute mutual funds to domestic investors, as well as offer customised institutional mandates and segregated accounts.

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.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.