Allianz Global Investors Korea (AllianzGI Korea) aims to make better use of the global products available to it than it has in the past under new chief executive Eugene Chung.
Since its inception in 2000, AllianzGI Korea – part of German insurer Allianz Group, with $16 billion in assets under management – has mainly focused on its domestic investment platform. This strategy saw asset flows into products such as a local social responsibility investment fund (launched in 2006 and now with $1.2 billion AUM) and small- and mid-cap Korean equity strategies.
AllianzGI Korea has not fully utilised the strong range of offshore products on offer within the group, says Chung, who took over from Lee Won-il mid-June. “Considering the size of our assets and the parent company we belong to, our offshore fund distribution has been rather small compared with our peers in Korea.”
To that end, the firm aims to become a “full-fledged, multi-asset fund house for both domestic and global products” and is building a team for that purpose, notes Chung. As a result, it is seeking to offer wider diversification by promoting other domestic funds, as well as offshore products, in a move flagged by AllianzGI global CEO Elizabeth Corley recently.
The Korean business can pick from the range of funds available from AllianzGI and bond specialist Pimco, also part of the group. Its long-term goal is to provide a full spectrum of products covering all regions (such as the US, Europe and emerging markets) and asset classes (equity, bond, multi-asset etcetera), notes Chung.
He anticipates increased interest in developed-market bonds and equities and medium-risk/medium-return products, driven by low interest rates and high volatility in EM equities. Hence AllianzGI Korea plans to launch developed-market equity products, as well as income-themed and multi-asset funds with asset allocation solutions.
The firm has already made some progress in expanding its range, after in 2010 launching several Pimco Global Investors Series (GIS) Funds. These comprise mainly overseas bond funds. They have so far raised $260 million and include the Pimco GIS Total Return Bond Fund, Emerging Markets Bond Fund, Diversified Income Fund, Global Investment Grade Credit Fund and Global Real Return Fund.
Chung is not new to Allianz, having served as head of fixed income portfolio at Allianz Life Insurance in Korea in 1999-2000. Then he was CIO Bond at AllianzGI Korea from 2001 to 2006. Before rejoining AllianzGI Korea, he was CEO at Seoul-based Kyobo-Axa Investment Managers.