US fund house Invesco is on a hiring drive in Asia Pacific, with the firm looking to recruit dozens of staff across a broad spectrum of posts to fuel growth.
A key senior hire in Singapore is expected to be unveiled within weeks as a new regional chief attempts to turn the fund house into a significant player in the city-state.
And as part of the new chief’s Greater China remit, Invesco is developing a series of products which are set to be launched in Taiwan over the coming months.
Terry Pan, Invesco’s chief executive for Greater China, Singapore and Korea, told AsianInvestor that he was hiring an additional 60 people in Asia Pacific as part of the firm’s expansion strategy. The additional headcount will include a senior executive in Singapore who will report directly to Pan.
Pan said the hires will fill various roles in the investment, product, sales, front- and back-end departments. It will include leadership positions.
“We are of the view that Asia is a growth region. We see opportunities and we want to be bigger,” said Pan. The firm aims to hire as quickly as possible, though it admits that some roles will take longer to fill.
A senior hire that will come to fruition in the next two weeks will be in Invesco Singapore, which is presently headed by an investment director.
Jalil Rasheed was appointed investment director and head of the Singapore office in 2013. His main role is to lead the Singapore investment team and focus on the Asean equity strategy. The new senior executive coming on board is expected to focus on business development.
Pan, who joined Invesco from JP Morgan Asset Management six months ago as reported, declined to divulge details at this stage, but said his mandate for the senior hire was to grow the local business.
Invesco Singapore has a presence in both institutional and retail business, though it has had more success in the institutional segment. Outside of Singapore, Invesco’s Asian business is predominantly institutional with some feeder business in select markets.
“Singapore is our portal to Southeast Asia. We see opportunities within the Singapore domestic market. The firm can do more, [hence] we are investing in people and related infrastructure,” Pan said.
But more than driving growth in Southeast Asia, Pan wants to be big in Singapore, which is not an established market for Invesco as Hong Kong and Taiwan are.
“We have to get Singapore right. That’s where we are based and where our team is. I don’t mind doing well in Malaysia or Thailand but to me that’s the icing on the cake. The cake has to be baked well,” Pan said.
Pan said Invesco will at some point establish a presence in the wider Southeast Asia markets, beyond Singapore, but this will not happen in the next 12 months. Invesco has to review the long-term viability of a domestic business in terms of asset flow and manufacturing capability before it opens an onshore office there. And with fund passporting initiatives in place, the firm doesn’t see it as urgent to have a local presence in Asean ex-Singapore.
Invesco will continue to focus on Greater China. Though it has an established business in Hong Kong, Pan said competition was stiff, hence it will continue to strategise and serve its clients to remain in its present position.
In February, soon after Pan started at Invesco, the fund house hired Lindsay Wright from Harvest Fund Management to run its institutional business as well as alternatives and investment solutions.
Hong Kong-China mutual recognition is a big part of Invesco's focus but at present the firm is only participating in the southbound market under the MRF scheme, as reported. Pan said there was Hong Kong demand for China funds. Though it has eligible funds for northbound distribution under MRF, the firm will need to analyse demand and decide on the right products for the China mass retail market. Invesco already caters to the mass affluent segment of the China retail market through its qualified domestic institutional investor (QDII) business.
In Taiwan, where Invesco has both onshore and offshore fund businesses, the firm is in the midst of developing new products for launch in the next few months.
Korea will remain an institutional business for Invesco for now. Pan said it has domestic equities and fixed income capabilities and could enter the domestic retail market if it wanted to. However, it has no immediate plans because of fierce competition in the retail space.
Invesco has 1,600 staff in the region, including 164 in its investment teams. The firm has $67.5 billion assets under management in Asia Pacific, as of March 31 this year.