Manulife AM rolls out HK fund in the Philippines

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Manulife Asset Management and Trust has launched seven mutual fund products in the Philippines since the firm was set up last year.

Last week, the firm launched the Manulife Dragon Growth Equity Feeder Fund, according to the firm’s website. The fund invests in the Manulife Dragon Growth Fund, which invests in companies listed in Hong Kong or in any other jurisdiction that has substantial business interests in Hong Kong or China.

The fund also rolled out the Manulife Asia Dynamic Bond Feeder Fund in October, which invests into the Manulife Global Fund Asia Total Return Fund. The focus is on Asia fixed income, including government and corporate bonds.

Commenting on the bond fund, Endre Pedersen, Manulife AM’s chief investment officer for Asia ex-Japan fixed income, said in a statement that the firm sees bond opportunities in China and Indonesia.

“China bonds inclusion into the global indices could be a game changer for global bond investors. Indonesia’s economy has grown steadily with inflation under control, thus, Indonesia bonds offer attractive real yields to investors,” he said.

In August, the firm offered its first products in the Philippines that invest in offshore markets: An Asia-focused equity fund and an Asia-Pacific REIT product.

At the time, locally-invested products dominated the country’s unit investment trust funds (UITFs) market. There were only 25 foreign equity investment funds out of the 73 equity UITFs in the Philippines as of August, according to data from the Trust Association of the Philippines.

“We see a growing demand for investment solutions in the Philippines,” Aira Gaspar, Manulife Trust’s Manila-based president and CEO, said previously.

In total, Manulife AM in the Philippines offers seven funds, three of which are focused in local markets.

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.


The Manulife Dragon Growth Fund versus its benchmark the MSCI Zhong Hua Index, which comprises both the MSCI China and MSCI Hong Kong Index.

Source: FE Analytics. Note: Fund and index NAVs are in US dollars.

 

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