Malaysian fund house CIMB-Principal is looking to expand its retail presence to Singapore for the first time in the second half of this year, AsianInvestor understands.

The firm, which has RM56 billion ($15 billion) in assets under management, is understood to be looking to launch four new retail funds under the Asean passport scheme, pending regulatory approval.

Last month CIMB-Principal became the first firm to launch a qualifying collective investment scheme (CIS) in Malaysia under the Asean passport initiative. The product was an Asean total return fund.

It is understood the four new funds would all be bottom-up and equity-centric, with one focused on Asia-Pacific exposure, one on Asean and two other Malaysian products.

However, Munirah Khairuddin, who became CEO of the firm in August 2013, declined to comment when approached by AsianInvestor

CIMB-Principal had stepped up its focus on the retail investor segment over the last few years. While the firm’s assets are now shared equally between institutional and retail, the latter is understood to contribute an increasing share of profits.

The vast majority of CIMB-Principal’s AUM is sourced from Malaysia, followed by Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. The firm acquired Thai company Finansa Asset Management for $7 million last year. Overall CIMB-Principal has 466 staff regionwide, including 75 investment managers.

CIMB-Principal has high hopes for the Asean passport scheme, launched last year, with Munirah having previously spoken to AsianInvestor about the need to raise its game with respect to the cross-border initiative.

“We will see global asset managers coming into Malaysia to capitalise on the Asean passport scheme within the next few years," Munirah said previously. "The markets where people will want to raise funds will be Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore, in that order. We haven’t seen it yet, but we will.”