The Asia-Pacific head of UK-based Jupiter Asset Management, Peter Swarbreck, says the firm is looking at emerging market debt as a key plank in its international expansion strategy.

Swarbreck, who joined the $54 billion fund house in April last year, notes that while it doesn’t have an emerging market debt product at present, “that is a potential area of growth for us”.

It comes after Jupiter confirmed the hire of Ross Teverson from Standard Life Investments as its incoming head of strategy for global emerging markets. Teverson will run the EM equity side of the business when he joins this November in London. But Jupiter still has no one to run EM debt.

Asked if the firm had separate emerging market product, Swarbreck says: “No, that will be work in progress. [Teverson] is not joining us until November. I think we will become more focused on what we do in the emerging market equity space. That will entail coming up with products that are good for specific areas, and that is very much a key thing for Asia.”

He confirms that emerging market debt is an area that Jupiter is looking at introducing, along with strengthening its global equity and multi-asset product suite.

Speaking to AsianInvestor from London’s Grosvenor Place, where the firm was holding a quarterly sales meeting, Swarbreck says he has completed his initial round of hiring in Hong Kong, where the firm opened an office this January, as reported.

The latest to join is Karen Wong as compliance officer. She started in early July, having previously held a similar role at UBS. That brings Swarbreck’s Hong Kong team to seven, including sales directors Tony Yu in Hong Kong and David Conway in Singapore.

“We have the essential pieces in place and now we want to build on that in terms of the business,” he says. Jupiter has 15 Sicav funds registered for retail sale in Hong Kong, although all of its investment strategies are managed out of its London headquarters.

In Singapore it does not have an asset management licence and therefore focuses on selling to professional investors via intermediaries such as private banks and insurance companies.

Swarbreck notes that depending on commercial success he may add a sales person in Singapore, but stresses that introducing investment management expertise in Asia is still several years away.

“That [introducing management expertise in Asia] is always in our thoughts, but it’s a bit early; it is in my business plan a few years from now,” he says. “That involves a different licence and expense, putting people including risk management and operations on the ground. That will be the next step [in our buildout], but we want to build the business first.”

He stresses that Jupiter is following a growth path laid down by chief executive officer Maarten Slendebroek, who took the reins from Edward Bonham-Carter in March this year. Both Swarbreck and Slendebroek previously worked together for a decade at BlackRock.

“He [Slendebroek] is very clear about where we want to take this. That is why I joined. I think Jupiter is a great story,” he explains. “There is huge potential for us to move the dial. I like building a team and creating or transferring a culture, all the soft skills. It’s entrepreneurial and it’s fun.

“Jupiter is still UK-centric. It’s clear we need to grow because if you don’t have a plan to build assets and raise your profile, a lot of people might be content, but then what happens? You lose talent, and Jupiter has talented, high-conviction managers.”

The fund house has offices in London, Frankfurt, Munich, Hong Kong and Singapore, with a presence in Madrid, a joint-venture in Paris and a master agent in Taipei. While it has nothing in the US, this April it recruited Martin Harris from Kames Capital to run its global institutional business, which it intends to expand. As a house, Jupiter is approximately 80% retail focused.

Swarbreck notes that Jupiter has seen inflows into its unconstrained fixed income strategies over the past six months. “We took a decision that is what we would focus on and it has worked well,” he explains. “But the hiring of an emerging markets equity specialist [Teverson] is going to have an important impact on the way we do things.”