Pru Life UK, the insurance affiliate of Eastspring Investments, is expected to launch a stand-alone asset management firm by the end of the year, according to local media reports.
Quoting Antonio De Rosas, Manila-based president and CEO at Pru Life in the Philippines, the reports said that the insurance company has already secured the necessary approvals from the regulators, including the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the country’s central bank, and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
De Rosas added that the BSP has also approved several products that the new asset management firm will be launching.
The firm is finalising its own internal governance requirements before launching the asset management company.
With the asset management firm, Pru Life will be able to offer pure mutual fund products, managed by Eastspring, to investors. Currently, the firm is able to offer Eastspring funds to domestic investors via insurance-linked products branded as “Prulink funds”, according to the firm’s website.
Initially, the asset management firm will be launching Eastspring bond funds to investors, De Rosas said.
“We already have a big menu of funds offered by Eastspring, which are offshore funds which we can feed into,” he said.
Separately, in the Philippines Pru Life is set to launch Eastspring’s Global Market Navigator Fund via an insurance-linked product, according to a statement from the firm. It will be the firm’s first multi-asset offering in the country.
Foreign firm interest
The new asset management firm, Pru Life UK Asset Management and Trust, will be a stand-alone trust corporation that is allowed to manufacture and distribute mutual fund products, known as unit investment trust funds (UITFs), to domestic investors.
There are only a few stand-alone trust corporations in the country because the BSP only approved the establishment of such firms in 2015. Previously, trusts were only allowed to operate as departments within banks.
Manulife Asset Management and Trust is among those that established a trust entity in the country. Since its launch in 2017, the firm has rolled out nine mutual fund products, with six of them offering offshore exposure via feeder funds.
In 2013, firms were first allowed to offer feeder funds. Since their launch, the number of feeder fund products has grown to 59 and they make up half the total number of UITFs in the Philippines, according to data from the Trust Officers Association of the Philippines.
Foreign wealth managers have also started to set up in the Philippines. Last year, Credit Suisse set-up a representative office in Manila to target the country’s wealthy. Lombard Odier also partnered with Manila-based Union Bank in 2017 to launch products for high net worth individuals.