Malaysia's CMS Trust Management and CMS Asset Management have merged to consolidate their investment expertise, resources and client base. The surviving entity is CMS Trust Management and Ian Tham has been named as its CEO.

Simon Chow, CMS Trust ManagementÆs head of marketing and client services, says the merger places the company is a better position to take advantage of the combined strengths of the two previous entities and tap new opportunities for its investors. Before the merger, Chow was the CEO of CMS Trust Management (the previous entity) while Tham was the CEO of CMS Asset Management.

Tham was appointed acting executive director of CMS Asset Management in October 2004 and was also the CEO of Allianz Global Investors Singapore at that time. He joined CMS Asset Management as managing director and CEO in July 2007. Since its incorporation in 1994 and until May 2007, CMS Asset Management was a joint venture between CMS Capital and Allianz Global Investors. In May 2007, CMS Asset Management became wholly owned by CMS Capital.

Tham started his career at the Development Bank of Singapore (DBS Bank). Prior to joining Allianz Global Investors, he was at AIG Investment in Hong Kong where he was responsible for business development and strategy for Asia. His capital markets experience also includes five years at Merrill Lynch where he was a vice-president.

Chow joined CMS Trust Management (the previous entity) in January 2008 as CEO. At the new company, he is responsible for developing strategies, marketing plans, and structuring products. Previously, Chow was CEO of TA Investment Management in Malaysia.

The management and staff of both entities, numbering 61, survived the merger. The surviving entity is a unit of CMS Capital, which is part of the Malaysian-listed financial services and infrastructure development company Cahya Mata Sarawak Group.

CMS Trust Management has just ended a week-long roadshow, with its CIO Scott Lim making the rounds of Malaysia, to inform investors about the firmÆs latest market outlook.

MalaysiaÆs stock market has been affected by factors that have also hurt other markets in Asia û rising oil prices, inflationary pressures, and concerns over a global economic slowdown. It has also suffered û just as Thailand has û from recent political tensions.

Anwar Ibrahim, MalaysiaÆs opposition leader, was arrested last month and later released on bail over allegations that he sodomised a 23-year-old male aide. This is the second time such an accusation has been brought against him since 1998. The same charge 10 years ago was eventually struck down by Malaysia's Supreme Court, but only after Anwar served six years in prison on a related abuse of power charge.

ôThe current turbulence is indicative of a market shift that creates uncertainty in the short-term but will lead to major positive results for the economy and market in the long-run, particularly for companies that are competitive in a relatively free market,ö says Scott Lim, CIO at CMS Trust Management.

CMS Trust Management expects the market to undergo a structural shift towards a separation between business and politics, and is continuing to shift its focus to Malaysian companies with global business models.

ôThis market crisis is fast emerging as one of the best entry points for long-term investors over the last five years since 9/11 and the Sars outbreak,ö Lim says. ôIn such times, crisis creates opportunities.ö

The MSCI Malaysia Index was down 23.71% year-to-date, as of August 11, in line with the regionÆs performance. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan Index was down 24.58% in the same period.