K-Asset expands fund range

Thai asset manager launches lifestyle funds in the midst of a rebanding.
ThailandÆs Kasikorn Asset Management (K-Asset), the countryÆs number two fund house as measured by assets under management, has launched a series of new funds aimed at non-traditional clients. The introduction of the new funds to the Thai investment market also comes as the firm is repositioning itself from a marketing standpoint and looks to bring more investors outside of high-end clients into the mutual funs space.

Its new series, known as K-Lifestyle funds, will invest primarily in equities, bonds, debt instruments, property funds and bank deposits. Each of the four mixed funds will be weighted on the basis of risk appetite and will have a fund size of 5 billion baht (approximately $155 million) a piece.

The funds will be available to the public from today (10 May) to 22 May and will distributed through Kasikorn Bank, the fund managerÆs parent company.

According to Kasikorn Asset Management, the launch of the K-Lifestyle funds represents a direction shift at the company which has traditionally targeted high-end investors. Instead, the goal of these new investment products will be to introduce a new generation of Thais into the mutual-fund space.

The new funds are consistent with Kasikorn Asset ManagementÆs new strategy of appealing to a broader investment base, which it claims it is achieving through a marketing repositioning.

Recently, the firm announced plans to regroup its existing 20 mutual funds into five distinct groups. The new sub-sectors of its products are now defined as foreign-investment funds, equity funds, fixed income funds and lifestyle funds. Additionally, Kasikorn Asset Management has also grouped its retirement mutual funds and long-term equity funds under the tax-savings fund moniker.

ôThe rebranding is aimed at making our companyÆs image more modern and effective, with our funds aimed at attracting younger customers,ö says Wiwan Tharahirunchote, president of Kasikorn Asset Management.

Thus far in 2007, Kasikorn Asset Management launched its first property fund and a derivatives-linked fund, which was offered to the market earlier in May, The firm also plans to launch two long-term equity funds next month and dip its toes further into the foreign investment funds (FIF), which have proved very popular with Thai retail investors given the relatively sluggish domestic equity markets.

As of April 30, Kasikorn Asset Management has 183.44 billion baht ($5.67 billion) of assets under management. Although it has been the number one player in the Thai market before, the firm has consistently been seesawing between first and second place with SCB Asset Management, which currently holds the top spot.
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