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Pru Life readies fund push in the Philippines

The firm follows a similar set-up established by Manulife in the Philippines.

Pru Life, the insurance affiliate of Eastspring Investments, has registered five mutual fund products in the Philippines, according to data from the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines (TOAP).

This marks the firm’s debut in the country’s fund industry. In July, the firm said that it already secured the necessary approvals from the regulators to set up a trust company to launch unit investment trust funds (UITFs).

Previously, Pru Life could only offer Eastspring products via its “Prulink”-branded investment-linked insurance offerings.

FSA sought more information from Pru Life, but the firm was not able to comment.

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 funds

The five UITFs include one bond and two equity products, which were incepted in November, according to TOAP data. The others are two money market funds.

The bond fund is the PRUInvest USD High Yield Asian Bond Feeder Fund, while the two equity funds are the Global Market Balanced Fund of Funds and the Global Technology Equity Feeder Fund.

The firm has not yet provided information about the funds’ investment strategies on its website, but previously said the products will be managed by Eastspring Investments.

According to FE Fundinfo data, Eastspring manages an Asian high yield bond product and a global technology fund, which are most likely the target funds for the two feeder funds.

The two feeder funds will also diversify the UITF product suite in the Philippines. The Asia high yield product will be the first high yield fixed income feeder fund in the Philippines, according to TOAP data.

The technology product will be the second vehicle that provides domestic investors with exposure to globally-listed technology stocks, the other being ATRAM’s Global Technology Feeder Fund, which was launched last year.

Separately, Pru Life is also one of the few stand-alone trust corporations in the country. The central bank only approved the establishment of such funds in 2015. Previously, trusts were only allowed to operate as departments within banks.

Manulife Asset Management and Trust also established a trust entity in the Philippines. Over the past two years, it has launched feeder funds that invest in its own offshore products.

In total, there are four trust corporations in the Philippines. The other two are BPI Asset Management and Trust, a subsidiary of the Bank of the Philippines Islands, and ATRAM Trust.

Part of the Mark Allen Group.