London-based BlueBay Asset Management will today open an office in Hong Kong, its second in Asia after Tokyo, with a view to boosting its fast-growing pool of assets under management.
The firm has relocated its existing director of Asia ex-Japan sales, Charmian Wan, from London to Hong Kong to run the office and will make several more hires in the coming months to focus on distribution. Wan has been servicing the region for nearly four years and reports to Alberto Francioni, London-based global head of sales.
BlueBay manages fixed-income credit assets, offering both long-only and alternative products across the major sub-asset classes of emerging markets, high yield, distressed debt, convertibles and investment grade.
The company remains focused on servicing institutional clients across Asia ex-Japan, but will also strategically look into the retail sector, says a BlueBay spokeswoman.
Asked whether the firm will be sourcing more investments from the region in the future, she tells AsianInvestor: "Asia has always been an important part of our investment universe and we will continue to look out for investment opportunities."
BlueBay, acquired in December by the Royal Bank of Canada, has had success selling its funds in the region and has had a presence in Japan since early 2005, alongside its offices in the UK and US.
The firm had $40 billion in AUM as of the end of 2010, having attracted rapid asset inflows in the past few years. Its registered funds, for example, recorded net inflows of $5.7 billion for the 12 months to 30 June 2009 and $10.2 billion for the 12 months to 30 June 2010. Audited figures to the end of last year are not yet available.
Other firms are also looking to promote the benefits of credit as an investment asset class in Asia.
Another Western asset manager to have set up in the region with a focus on fixed income and credit is Eaton Vance, a story broken in October by AsianInvestor. The Boston-based firm also runs equity funds, but hired credit specialist Rob White to run the region out of Singapore, with a view to sourcing and repackaging bank loans.
And London-based Alcentra – one of the asset managers within the BNY Mellon group – is increasingly exploring opportunities in the region. Alcentra focuses on sub-investment-grade debt capital markets in Europe and the US.