French asset manager Amundi has named Prapatpong Weeramon, formerly of ANZ Group, to head its new business in Thailand, which will launch today in Bangkok, AsianInvestor can reveal.

The wholly owned subsidiary, Amundi Mutual Fund Brokerage Securities (Thailand), makes it the first foreign asset manager to receive a mutual fund brokerage licence for distribution in the country under the Asean collective investment scheme (CIS) passporting initiative.

Besides Prapatpong, the office is staffed by three personnel, supported by the firm's operations in Singapore. Amundi does not plan to add headcount in the near term, he told AsianInvestor.

The firm will distribute funds through brokers, commercial banks, asset management firms and insurance companies in Thailand. It plans to offer baht share class Asean CIS funds and Amundi's global strategies.

AsianInvestor reported in January that the firm was planning to open a branch in the country this year, with the original target date being the first half of 2014.

It received a licence to operate in Thailand earlier this month, but did not comment on the reason for the delay, except to say that the due diligence process had been robust.

Amundi's plan in Southeast Asia and globally is to “deepen and enlarge the already strong historical presence in the institutional space”, Pascal Blanqué, head of institutional clients and third-party distributors and chief investment officer, told AsianInvestor this January.

The second plank of the strategy is to make a breakthrough in the external distribution space by building on a strong experience of servicing retail networks and distributors.

Prapatpong joined Amundi in April from ANZ Group’s Thai representative office, where he was in charge of financial institutions and public-sector relationships.

Before that, he worked from 1996 to 2010 at Citibank, most recently as head of the services and public sector groups, covering Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Amundi covers North Asia from Hong Kong, where it set up in 1982, while South Asia is covered from Singapore, where it started operations in 1989.

The asset manager, which operates branches in Brunei, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, Singapore, Sydney, Taipei and Tokyo, and joint ventures in Beijing, Mumbai and Seoul, had been boosting its presence Malaysia in the first half of the year. There it offers conventional and sharia-compliant equity and bond strategies.

Amundi manages assets of $1.1 trillion worldwide as of June 30, of which $88 billion is sourced from Asia.