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The FSA Spy market buzz – 30 August 2019

CIMB PB loses; PNB pinches from Invesco; Janus Henderson recruits EM; St James Place discretionary; Income fund woes; Uber down to earth; advertising from T Rowe Price and much more.

Spy managed to share a few glasses of Chablis with an emerging markets portfolio manager this week in Hong Kong. “It is not exactly the easiest sell in the world at the moment, with two rather dismal years behind us”, lamented this veteran investor. “Who wants to talk about EM when long duration treasuries have delivered more than 20% this year.” Fair enough. Spy is certainly no investing guru and would not dare to give anything so gutsy as “advice”, but he would merely remind his loyal readers that in 2017 EM jumped more than 37%. “When it bounces back, it seldom does so with a whimper”, noted my drinking companion. For anyone lucky enough to have captured this treasuries run, perhaps some of those profits should be hunting within emerging markets for a new home?

News has reached Spy that Carolyn Leng, the former head of private banking at CIMB, has stepped down from her role. Spy has no news of where Carolyn is heading to, but he has learned that her replacement is Lawrence Yong, deputy head/managing director of private banking. Since its establishment in 2002 in its home market of Malaysia, CIMB Private Bank has expanded regionally and now offers its services in Singapore, Thailand and Malaysia.

Malaysian fund group Permodalan Nasional Berhad, has announced the appointment of its new CEO from 1st of October 2019. The Malaysian asset manager has pinched Jalil Rashid from Invesco in Singapore. Jalil was CEO of Invesco in Southeast Asia for the last six years. Government-owned, PNB has 13 million account holders and assets under management of RM 300bn.

Emerging markets may have had a torrid time over the last few years, but Janus Henderson is not allowing that to prevent it thinking about EM for the long term, thinks Spy. The Anglo-American firm has just pinched an EM group of portfolio managers and analysts from Putnam Investments. Matthew Culley and Daniel Graña, both portfolio managers and research analysts Matthew Weiss Doody and Peter Li, are all set to join JH in mid-September. JH is in fact re-staffing after it emerged that Glen Finegan and a number of EM-focused colleagues have decided to step down from the firm in November.

The future of wealth management across the world is discretionary, as far as Spy is concerned. Earlier this week, FSA’s sister publication International Adviser reported that St James Place, the FTSE 100 listed wealth manager, has had its capital markets license approved by the MAS in Singapore in order to offer discretionary services to its Southeast Asian clients. St James Place has more than $1.2bn in assets under advice in Asia and has 150 advisers in the region. SJP’s subsidiary, Rowan Dartington, will manage the service and already has a license in Hong Kong.

Whilst investors in Pimco’s Income Fund have little to be unhappy about year-to-date, Singapore investors in the SGD-hedged share class have had a wobble this month according to FSM One. The fund dropped 1% during August, despite the bond market having a relatively strong month. Nothing compared to the pain that Franklin Templeton’s Emerging Markets Bond fund has experienced though. That has had a proper wobble dropping more than 8%, almost certainly linked to Argentina’s woes. This list below is from FSM One’s bestselling funds in the FI category:



Spy is unsurprised to see that Uber’s share price has been hammered since its IPO. The firm is now trading 27% below its IPO price. Is the market waking up to the fact that you can’t sell something below its cost price indefinitely? No doubt the brokers will be out in force reminding investors that Facebook also fell after its IPO before bouncing back. FB for all its sins, does have a cardinal virtue – it makes money. A lot of it.

Can there be few more exciting announcements than the Indonesian government’s decision to build a new capital away from Jakarta? Spy has lost count of the times that institutional fund sales people have told him, with a sense of impending dread, they need to a do a few days in that smoke-filled, traffic-clogged metropolis. If Indonesia could now open up its fund market sensibly to global fund groups, we would really be off to the races.

Jack Ma, of Alibaba fame, has an uncanny knack of saying things that make one nod quietly. This week he was squaring off against Tesla’s Elon Musk in Shanghai. Musk, one of the most avid proponents of artificial intelligence is reported to have said, “Computers are so much smarter than humans on so many dimensions.” Ma’s riposte was succinct and cutting: “Computers may be clever, but human beings are much smarter. We invented the computer – I’ve never seen a computer invent a human being.” Hard to disagree, thinks Spy.

It is nearly September. That must mean advertising is coming back to the outdoor world for asset managers. Right on cue, Spy’s photographers have spotted a new campaign from T Rowe Price in Singapore on the MRT:



Meanwhile, in Hong Kong, Fidelity has been promoting its global multi-asset capability for a while at the Hong Kong Airport Express Terminal at the IFC:



Until next week…

Part of the Mark Allen Group.