One more fund manager is opening a new office in Taipei this week as anticipation for a recovery in the islandÆs economy intensifies one month before its presidential election. Aberdeen Asset Management says it has opened a new office in Exchange Square in Taipei and appointed Martin Tan, a Singapore native, to head up its new team as general manager.

Alex Boggis, director of business development at Aberdeen in Hong Kong, says its Taiwan business is waiting for a securities investment consulting enterprise (Sice) license from the regulatory authority. The license will allow Aberdeen to conduct sales activities onshore. However, Boggis says there is currently no plan to further pursue a Site (securities investment trust enterprise) license, which would qualify Aberdeen for manufacturing onshore products for local sale.

Mable Chan, a veteran from AberdeenÆs Hong Kong office, will relocate to Taipei to bolster its sales effort as head of business development and sales. The Taiwan team of six will be put in charge to bid for outsourcing mandates from the æbig fourÆ public pension funds as well as the leading insurers, now that the government is easing overseas investment restrictions.

Boggis anticipates Taiwanese pension funds to tender for new mandates by the first or second quarter this year. ôWe would only take on money we would run well,ö he says. ôWe are very careful not to chase too hard at the end of the day.ö Aberdeen is keen to leverage its expertise in global equities and global fixed income for the next round of tenders.

Currently, AberdeenÆs products are distributed through its master agent in Taiwan, ING Investment Management. ING IM has a combined Site/Sice license and it is one of the 35 master agents licensed to distribute offshore funds by non-licensed fund management companies.

From the perspective of its portfolio managers, however, Taiwan is not so attractive, which partly explains the firm's decision not to seek a Site license. Nicholas Yeo, investment manager for Asian equities, says the local stockmarket remains dominated by tech companies that don't command high valuations. He is sceptical about these companies' ability to grow earnings quickly on the back of mainland China's economic expansion.

ôThe market has been down for 10 years now, and it has underperformed the region for so long. Any stimulus could boost the stockmarket this year. But politics being politics, itÆs hard to comment,ö he says.