Mackenzie Investments, a fund management company owned by Canadian financial services giant Power Group, has appointed Arris Partners to help it develop clients among Asian institutions, says Blake Moore, executive vice-president responsible for distribution.

The firm is also keen to acquire Asia-based investment teams, he adds.

Mackenzie wants to turn its primarily Canadian business into a global one, and is looking to expand into Asia and the United States. Its investment teams in Toronto and Vancouver run C$65 billion ($63 billion) of domestic and global equity and fixed-income strategies of various styles, having acquired teams over the years, all in Canada.

Last year it made its first move in Asia after it acquired an Asian credit team in Singapore that had spun out of JP Morgan.

Its parent Power Group also took a 10% stake in Beijing-based China Asset Management, although that is a financial transaction that, for now, will not have any operational ties to Mackenzie. (Among Power Group’s subsidiaries is Boston-based Putnam Investments.)

The firm has eyed a global expansion for three years. It hired Moore and Gary Wing, also an executive vp who runs institutional sales, in 2010 in order to spearhead these efforts. That has led it to ramp up acquisition initiatives to fill the gaps in its investment capabilities.

Moore says over the foreseeable future, investors will continue to seek income-generating exposures, but increasingly sourced globally. Mackenzie wants to add more teams that bring a variety of sovereign and corporate credit to bear, particularly strategies that can provide yield as well as downside protection and liquidity.

Wing describes the firm’s strategy as “seeding our way into Asia”, with its business led by product development. The firm will go after the traditional pension fund and life insurance markets in the region. Although it is a big retail player in Canada, Mackenzie intends to keep its international sales efforts limited to institutions.

As the firm is not yet putting salespeople or client-service people on the ground, it is working through Hong Kong-based Arris Partners, a start-up third-party marketer founded by Simon Godfrey, a former investment specialist at BNP Paribas Investment Partners, and Nah Wee-Ping, previously a salesman at AGF, another Canadian asset manager. (He worked with Gary Wing at AGF.)

“We’re here to be a day-to-day presence for Mackenzie,” says Godfrey, who says for the time being, Arris Partners will direct its efforts to serving its first client. Although Arris will eventually add new clients, some product areas will remain exclusively catered for Mackenzie.