Singapore's Fullerton Fund Management is in out-and-out expansion mode: in January the company unveiled a branch in Tokyo; then news emerged it is setting up an office in London; and yesterday it announced hires to help develop new investment strategies.
Jason Zhu joined this month from Franklin Templeton Sealand Fund Management as head of China equities, replacing Grace Lu, who left the firm late last year. He will oversee Fullerton’s efforts to strengthen its presence in China's onshore market. Lu's responsibilities had been taken on in the interim by head of equities Choo Jee Meng.
Fullerton's 11-strong equities team includes two dedicated China A-share research analysts. The firm has $250 million in qualified foreign institutional investor quota, allowing it to invest in onshore mainland securities. And Manraj Sekhon, chief executive and chief investment officer, tells AsianInvestor that Fullerton would apply for an RQFII licence if it saw sufficient interest from clients.
Another new arrival is Craig Mitchell, who joined last month from US fund giant Capital Group to develop an Asia absolute return equity fund for Fullerton. He held various portfolio manager roles during his 14 years at Capital, and was also previously a co-founder and portfolio manager at Stewart Asia.
And Ian McCallum joined in January from London-based Bedlam Asset Management, where he was chief investment officer. He is tasked with developing Fullerton’s global emerging market equity strategies and expanding its coverage of emerging Asia.
The planned products will ultimately launch on Fullerton's Ucits platform. “We believe that these new investment strategies offer compelling alternatives to our established relative return and core Asia solutions,” says Sekhon, adding that the firm largely services institutional investors.
Meanwhile, Fullerton is working on establishing its London presence, and will soon be applying for a licence from UK regulator the Financial Conduct Authority.
Asked for more detail about time frame and likely UK headcount, Sekhon said: “We are still in the early stages of setting up the office. We will share more details at the appropriate time.”
The firm made the decision to set up in London following the launch of the UK government’s investment management strategy, says a government statement. The aim is to enable Fullerton to build new partnerships in the UK and better service and develop its client base in Europe.
The move also comes as London and Singapore look to strengthen the ties between them, given their new status as burgeoning renminbi hubs, after they were both awarded RQFII quota late last year.