Demand is steadily growing in Thailand for overseas exposure, boosting the importance for foreign asset managers of knowing the key local gatekeepers. AsianInvestor has identified those selectors considered to be the most influential.
We have already profiled Benjarong Techamuanvivit of Kasikorn Asset Management, Smith Banomyong of SCB Asset Management, Vana Bulbon of UOB Asset Management, Maethee Chandavimol of Phatra Securities, Don Charnsupharindr of Citi, Kidakarn Chudsuwan of Thai Military Bank and Jirawat Supornpaibul of Kasikorn Bank.
Here are the final two choices.
Head of investment advisory
Siam Commercial Bank
Having graduated from fund manager to selector, Sornchai Suneta heads the investment advisory unit at Siam Commercial Bank. At present it uses subsidiary SCB Asset Management and one external manager, Aberdeen Asset Management, as fund providers,
However, it has started to open its platform to third-party firms. SCB AM works with global managers to develop foreign funds for the bank. “We have six foreign funds managed by Aberdeen. By next month [April] we’ll have another,” Suneta says.
SCB has $3.5 billion in foreign funds including short-term investment in emerging-market debt, largely funds managed by SCB AM. Third-party funds are limited to the private bank and high-net-worth investors, although plans are in place to expand third-party foreign investment funds to retail clients.
Given its network of 1,200 branches, this will be a challenge. “While the investment profiling and suitability assessment allows us to know the customer, product selection is another key to success,” Suneta stresses.
He notes that the selection process emphasises “people, process, performance and service” when choosing appropriate products. “We consider investment strategy and philosophy, but also personnel and the fund management team, in addition to performance and track record,” he said.
Previously Suneta served as chief investment officer at SCB AM running Bt1 trillion ($35 billion) in AUM.
Krungsri Asset Management
Bank of Ayudhya (also known as Krungsri) is Thailand’s fifth largest bank with 650 branches, and part of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. Its asset management arm is Krungsri AM and it has long-standing relationships with local and foreign banks such as Citi, Standard Chartered and United Overseas Bank, as well as securities and insurance companies.
“This has helped us to reach out to different types of clients,” said Siriporn Sinacharoen, who joined the firm as managing director this January. “Thus we gain various insights about clients that eventually help us to develop products that suit their needs.”
Krungsri AM has launched 22 foreign investment funds so far. Decisions on fund selection are taken by a product development committee led by Sinacharoen.
She has 18 years’ experience in local and international capital markets. In addition to investment management, she has experience in investment banking and management consulting. She worked in investment banking with Barclays Capital and Kasikornbank, providing financial advisory services and executing a range of debt offerings and syndicated loans.
Prior to joining Krungsri, Sinacharoen spent nine years at Allianz Group, most recently as deputy Asia chief investment officer at Allianz Investment Management Singapore, which oversees the regional portfolio of German insurer Allianz.