MalaysiaÆs RHB Unit Trust Management has rolled out the first thematic mutual fund in Malaysia, it says. The Global Themes Fund will invest 95-100% of its net asset value into an underlying fund, DWS Global Themes Equity Fund, and the rest into cash, in order to provide Malaysian investors with a diversified offering.

The fund will be managed by RHB and sub-advised by Singapore-based Deutsche Asset ManagementÆs retail arm, DWS, and sub-managed by Deutsche Investment Management Americas. It also represents the first tie-up between RHB Unit Trust and Deutsche Asset Management.

ôThe strategy behind thematic investing is to design a portfolio that will outperform regardless of market conditions, and is not influenced by perceived market direction,ö says Michael Tan, CEO at RHB Unit Trust Management. ôThe fund is borderless, not constrained to geography or sector which gives investors true diversification and is also forward looking, as it identifies secular trends that provide the best investment opportunities. Hence, it is most suitable as an all-weather, core investment as it is designed to outperform in all market conditions, free from the perceived direction of the global market.ö

The thematic fundÆs portfolio will follow three main market characteristics, which RHB Unit Trust has identified as strong, weak and any. When there are æstrongÆ markets, the fund invests in companies with rapidly rising revenues and stable or improving operating returns. In æweakÆ markets, the fund aims to take advantage of companies with resilient cashflows in changing external environments.

However, it is the æanyÆ market classification that will likely appeal to the moderate risk demographic RHB Unit Trust is targeting. This portion of the fundÆs portfolio focuses on stocks that have been mispriced due to structural flaws or short-term market misconceptions. Examples include the growing global agri-businesses, as well as companies that stand to benefit from Japan's restructuring of its businesses and their relationships with the government.

ôThe main objective of the fund is to provide investors with long-term growth of capital through a diversified international portfolio based on a global thematic investing and is suitable for moderate risk investors who want an æall-weatherÆ portfolio,ö says Tan.

Aside from including Malaysian firms, the portfolio will also pay attention to high growth economies like China, India, Mexico and Brazil. Most international funds on offer in Malaysia focus on Asian markets.

The newly launched fund by distributed in Malaysia by HSBC Bank Malaysia, CIMB Investment Bank, RHB Bank, and United Overseas Bank (Malaysia). Investors can also purchase the global themes fund through RHB Unit Trust ManagementÆs authorized agents and its business partners, which includes Oscar Wealth Advisory, Arrow Solutions, Standard Financial Planners and Legacy Wealth Management in Malaysia.

According to RHB Unit Trust Management, it will launch at least three more funds in 2007 and expects its total unit trust sales to grow significantly in 2007 from M$600 million ($171 million) last year to over M$1 billion ($285 million) this year. The Global Themes Fund aims to attract M$200 million ($57 million) in sales, and has already seen strong demand from investors in the past few days.