The Dutch pension asset manager's Asia Pacific head of real estate says his team has just had one of its busiest years ever and that 2021 is looking similarly promising.
Three are internal appointments. Catherine Barker, who has worked at BGI Europe for seven years covering cash management and index product strategy, moves to Singapore where she will head up the client service and marketing business.
Ada Yin has moved from BGI Canada to a new role in Singapore as portfolio manager on BGIÆs exchange-traded fund team iShares, while Ivan Fong transfers from Australia to Hong Kong to work on the client advisory team.
The main external appointment is that of George Ding, former financial risk manager the New York City Retirement System, who moves to Hong Kong where he will be client director for mainland China. Before his stint in New York Ding was a foreign-exchange trader and corporate treasurer for companies in Hong Kong and China.
The other external appointee is Eric Poon, who joins from Goldman Sachs Asset Management and will work as head of cash sales for BGI Asia ex-Japan.
ôWe manage money for a lot of central banks,ö says Mark Talbot, CEO for Asia ex-Japan in Hong Kong. ôWe are obviously reluctant to talk about individual mandates but this is all about increasing our institutional business. All of the markets in Asia Pacific as a whole have been receptive to our business model.ö
He says BGI is targeting institutions with its quantitative strategies: ôMost institutions want a risk-controlled approach as they do not want to be taking individual bets and that is something active quant strategies can give them.
ôWe have a very full product offering including active quant hedge funds and mortgage-backed securities vehicles but tend to be hired to manage global and US fixed income mandates.ö
This fits in will several recent developments on the Asian institutional asset management scene, most notably three tenders up for grabs in Taiwan and last yearÆs outsourcing by the National Council for Social Security Fund in China. In the former, as reported by www.AsianInvestor.net last week, the Public Service Pension Fund is seeking managers for $400 million in global enhanced fixed income.
Across Asia Pacific BGI has some $196 billion in assets under management and more than $1.5 trillion globally. So far business in Asia ex-Japan has been slow to catch up. As of June last year just 1% of BGI clients were from the region. Australia and Japan comprise 2% and 9% respectively.
Mega players Nippon Life and Dai-ichi Life are looking for opportunities in higher-yield single-A US corporate bonds, which offer more appealing yields than stagnant domestic offerings.
The “lower for longer” monetary policy and stimulus packages, coupled with the rolling out of vaccine programmes favorably support real estate investing in the region, with offices and data centres presenting forward-looking opportunities.
As US fixed income default rates rose and yields fell during the pandemic, are Asian bonds, which have had more stable yields through 2020, looking more attractive?
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