The US firm received a greenlight from Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in late-February to launch three mutual fund products to retail investors in the SAR.
They are the Asian Opportunities Equity Fund, the Emerging Markets Discovery Equity Fund and the US Smaller Companies Equity Fund, according to data from the SFC.
Although the funds are new to retail investors in Hong Kong, the products have already been made available to professional investors, which include high net worth individuals and institutions, Priscilla Leung, T Rowe Price’s head of intermediary business for Greater China, told FSA.
In Singapore, the funds are only available to accredited investors, according to data from FE Fundinfo.
“We would welcome opportunities to distribute them to a broader investor base in Hong Kong and Singapore in the future, depending on client demand,” she said, but did not say whether the funds have been registered for retail sale in the Lion City.
Hong Kong fund push
Currently, the firm does not have any funds for retail sale in Singapore.
But in Hong Kong, the firm has been pushing its products to retail investors.
The latest move follows after the firm launched six funds in Hong Kong last year. Before that, it rolled out three funds in 2018, five in 2017 and five in 2016.
In total, T Rowe offers 22 mutual funds to retail investors in Hong Kong.
Commenting on the new funds, Leung said that the Asian Opportunities Equity fund invests in “high quality business” in Asia.
Meanwhile, the Emerging Markets Discovery Equity Fund hunts for “forgotten stocks” in emerging markets that under the radar of mainstream investors and sell-side analysts.
The US Smaller Companies Equity Fund invests in mid- and small-cap US equities, which provides an investment option for investors who are in favour of active stock selection but may not be familiar with companies outside of the US large cap universe, she said.
However, the new fund approvals come at a time when the coronavirus has spread globally in at least 75 countries. In Hong Kong, confirmed cases have reached 100.
Firms have cancelled or postponed most of their events due to the coronavirus. For example, a survey conducted by the Investment Management Association of Singapore shows that 73% of asset managers surveyed indicated that they have cancelled or deferred large-scale events, which include fund launches.
T Rowe’s Leung noted that the coronavirus has a “nominal” impact on the recent fund approvals and claimed that the firm never intended to conduct large-scale promotions for the products.
“At this stage, we are focused on introducing these funds to intermediaries in Hong Kong through exclusive meetings and presentations.
“Given that, large scale promotions or launch activities had not been part of our plan, and the impact of the coronavirus outbreak is therefore nominal,” she said.