Spy notes that Ellen Tsang, former head of marketing at Standard Life Investments, has joined State Street Global Advisors as head of marketing for Asia-Pacific. She will report to Richard Parker in London, who is the institutional head of marketing, and locally to June Wong, the Asia head of SSGA. Ellen is an experienced asset management marketeer with roles at Amundi and Pictet Asset Management.
News reaches Spy that Clement Lai, the vice president and fund products desk head of DBS in Hong Kong has stepped down from his role at the Singaporean bank. Spy is unsure of where Clement has moved to or if he is remaining within the industry. Pierre DeGagné remains in charge of fund selection for the group, based in the Lion City.
Word has come to Spy that Matthew Chan, who holds a fund due diligence role with EFG Private Bank in Hong Kong, is stepping down from his role shortly. Spy is unsure of where Matthew is going, however, he believes Matthew is staying within the industry.
For many asset managers, reaching a milestone of $50bn in AUM is cause for celebration. Bring out the champagne, get on a party hat. For Wall Street’s biggest player, that milestone appears to be just another quarter. Blackrock has just announced inflows of $55bn in the first quarter, of which $34bn went into its passives business. The numbers are fairly staggering. We are truly living in an extraordinary age of asset gathering. Central bank printing, eh, you have to love it.
Blackrock is not the only manager reporting good inflows. The world’s largest listed hedge fund manager, Man Group, has reported an even better, proportional, move in assets with net inflows of $4.8bn. This increases their AUM to nearly $113bn from $109bn after market performance is taken into account. With fees that make passive funds watery with jealousy, it is no surprise the group announced a $100m share buyback. For what it is worth, Spy continues to expect far more interest in the alternative space this year. Long / short funds are likely to experience far more demand.
“What a difference a day made…24 little hours”, so sang Jamie Callum in his 2003 hit cover of the Maria Grever song. For Spy, it should read “what a difference a fee makes, just a few little basis points…” What is this nonsense you are going on about, you ask? Spy was researching MPF fund performance and came across the top three performing China funds, which also happen to be the top three performing funds over 3 years within the MPF universe.
- In 3rd place, Mass MPF Scheme-Greater China Equity up 38.57%.
- In 2nd place, Principal MPF Smart-Principal Dynamic G.China Equity up 41.13%.
- In 1st place My Choice MPF S-China Equity up 41.50%.
All very well, I hear you say. When Spy looked more closely which AM managed those funds, it turns out that that Mass Mutual and My Choice (Prudential/Bank of China) are both the same fund: JP Morgan Asset Management’s SAR Greater China Fund. The My Choice wrapper is clearly cheaper on fees and “what a difference those fees make…”
As private banks in Asia gather assets at a proportionally faster rate than the rest of the world, the dreamy-eyed future of all that first generation Asia wealth passing to younger hands might just be coming to pass. With Li Ka-Shing retiring recently and handing over to his son, Victor, Spy thinks a small tipping point may be reached. Like Europe’s entrepreneurial families before them, expect more conservative mandates ahead. The children of wealth entrepreneurs, all over the world, usually like to stay accustomed to their comfortable lifestyles.
With the recent volatility, especially in the global bond market, Spy’s quote of the week comes from James Carville, via M&G’s Bond Vigilantes blog. Carville was a Clinton administration advisor in 1993. “I used to think if there was reincarnation, I wanted to come back as the president or the pope or a .400 baseball hitter. But now I want to come back as the bond market. You can intimidate everybody.”
Chinese New Year is well and truly behind us. How does Spy know? The advertising is back on the streets in an avalanche of enthusiasm.
First up is Schroders promoting their Global Credit Income in Hong Kong, offering a 4.5% payout – one assumes from the picture. This is a juicy return and despite recent bond volatility, the glass is still half full:
Old Mutual Global Investors is reminding the world that the oldest form of money is still worth looking at. Spy, personally, has always fancied a few gold coins in shoebox for a rainy day:
Finally, Invesco, is giving investors the chance to play China’s Belt and Road theme with their bond fund:
Until next week…