In a drive to boost its $70 billion in Asian assets under management, Amundi has set up operations in Taiwan and plans to submit more funds for approval in Hong Kong.
For example, the firm is readying an Asian equity dividend product, says Zhong Xiaofeng, North Asia CEO at the French firm.
More Hong Kong-domiciled funds are likely to follow, with asset classes such as fixed income on Amundi’s agenda. “We will see if our global fixed income flagship funds meet SFC requirements,” Zhong tells AsianInvestor.
The motivation behind such moves was made clear by last week’s announcement of a proposed scheme to allow mutual recognition in mainland China and Hong Kong of funds registered in either jurisdiction.
“We will package the funds in Hong Kong so that they can be eligible for sale in the mainland market when the conditions are there,” confirms Zhong.
These will add to its existing Hong Kong-domiciled funds, largely global balanced portfolios, including products listed on the government’s Mandatory Provident Fund platform.
Other fund houses, such as BlackRock and Franklin Templeton, are also working on building local platforms and product with the same goal in mind.
Amundi Taiwan was officially incorporated last month following the issue of its securities investment consulting enterprise (Sice) licence. The firm already had a master agent, SinoPac, in place there to distribute products on its behalf.
Nick Chiang has been promoted to general manager of Amundi Taiwan from the post of head of business development for Taiwan, which he took up in July 2011. He now relocates to Taipei from Hong Kong for the new role. Before joining Amundi, Chiang was Taiwan head for Dutch fund manager Robeco.
Following the Taiwan opening, Amundi has a presence in 31 countries worldwide. It aims to hit €1 trillion ($1.35 trillion) in AUM globally, from €750 billion currently, and is targeting $100 billion in Asia, from $70 billion, within the next five years.
Asked how Amundi would strengthen its distribution network in the region, global CEO Yves Perrier cites the firm’s partnership with Tokyo-based Resona Bank as an example of its approach.
In Japan, where Amundi runs $30 billion in AUM, the firm manufactures about 70% of the mutual funds sold by Resona. That has helped it to develop relationships with other Japanese banks and provide them with marketing, commercial support and reporting services, Perrier tells AsianInvestor.
Not surprisingly given its size, Amundi has business lines other than traditional long-only products, including alternative strategies and exchange-traded funds. It has not yet made major inroads into Asia with either asset type, says Perrier, but is keeping an eye on the right time to make a move.
The firm launched the ETF business two years ago and it now has €10 billion in assets, all listed in Europe.
“We are a small challenger and are concentrating on expanding our market share in Europe for the time being,” says Perrier, who argues that the Asian ETF market is not growing as fast as might be expected at present. “But if opportunity arises in Asia, we will take it.”
It would probably do so both by listing products there and putting salespeople in the region. It currently has no dedicated ETF sales staff in Asia.
On the alternatives side, says Perrier, Amundi recently launched a loan fund targeting life insurance firms, and it is working on real estate products and absolute-return funds of funds. It has not yet marketed these products in Asia, he adds, but it would consider doing so.