JP Morgan Asset Management has appointed Tai Hui from Standard Chartered in a newly created role as chief Asia-Pacific strategist for its funds business.
Based in Hong Kong, Hui started yesterday and is leading the firm’s Global Market Insights Strategy team in Asia to guide investors in the region on their portfolio decisions. The idea is to share market insights and intelligence with clients, both intermediary and end-users of funds.
The team in Asia is five-strong and comprises two strategists, Geoff Lewis and Grace Tam, and two analysts. The Market Insights team was started in 2004 in the US, where it now has six staff led by David Kelly as chief global strategist. It also has five in Europe and one in Sao Paolo.
The team provides a quarterly markets guide, adopting a macro, top-down approach covering equities, fixed income and, to a lesser extent, commodities. It seeks to provide a guide on relative valuations and market direction over the medium term.
“We are trying to provide our customers with a framework so they can share these insights with their clients as well,” says Hui.
He adds that it works with fund managers in-house and provides feedback, where possible, although he stresses that the team is client-facing and not focused on internal advisory.
“Fund managers approach the market from a bottom-up perspective, while we are more top down, so there is room for some divergence in view,” he says.
Asked if the Market Insights team explores alternative investments, Hui says it does look at some Reits but suggests the team may be looking more closely at alts in the future.
“Our markets guide is a development process and we get feedback from sales colleagues, so if there is strong demand for a specific asset class where clients are asking for more information, we will look towards that,” he notes. “But we need to be conscious of the fact that the material will be consumed by a wide audience so we want to make it as intuitive as possible.”
When it comes to the markets, Hui sees attractive valuations in equities, especially in Asia. He says the degree of macro stability in emerging markets combined with their growth prospects means they will continue to attract capital from the west, with high-yield an important theme.
He points to China as an especially cheap market, and says that while this has been talked about for the past year, only now are economic indicators turning more positive. He says the risk is associated reforms from the leadership transition and how that could impact market dynamics.
“That is one of the unknowns, and why the market has not really embraced the value proposition yet,” he argues.
Prior to this new role, Hui was head of research for Asia at Standard Chartered Bank in Singapore. He quit the bank and went on gardening leave in early September.
A spokesperson for Standard Chartered confirms that David Mann was transferred from the US this month to take up the role of head of research for Asia. He was previously based in New York and responsible for coverage of the US economy.