Manulife Asset Management announced yesterday that it had hired Kisoo Park in a newly created role as Asia-based portfolio manager for its global multi-sector fixed income team.

Park joined on October 19 as a managing director in Hong Kong, where he will provide support in global bond and foreign exchange research. He reports to Boston-based Daniel Janis.

The firm’s global multi-sector fixed income team manages assets for retail and institutional clients, as well as Manulife and John Hancock investment funds globally. It seeks to differentiate itself by employing both strategic and tactical currency views to take advantage of global market trends.

In all it has six funds in different classes under the strategy, largely made up of high-quality credit, foreign developed and emerging market bonds and high yield. It includes some dim sum paper, although Park notes that the yields are not attractive at present.

The team manages a total AUM of $10 billion, of which about 25-30% is invested in Asia, estimates Park. 

“Asia is gaining more importance in the global marketplace and we decided we needed somebody dedicated to the funds sitting in Asia," he tells AsianInvestor. "We wanted to establish 24-hour, six-days-a-week coverage to manage the risk, which we think is important."

One of the key mandates of the strategy is that the average rating of all bond securities in the portfolio must be investment grade. Park confirms it has gleaned more interest in the retail sector so far, although he says it is gaining ground among institutional investors in the US.

"Globally we are targeting more institutional business, and this is an area where we would like to see growth in the future," he adds. "One thing that really differentiates our strategy is that through our active management of FX exposure we try to generate 1-2% alpha," he adds.

He says the John Hancock Strategic Income A strategy has returned 14.1% over three years, 7.27% over five years and 7.45% over 10 years.

Park's experience lies in foreign exchange and global fixed income. Most recently he was chief operating officer for an Asia-focused, event-driven hedge fund in Hong Kong.

He has also worked as CIO at Prince Asset Management in Hong Kong, as well as for Bank of Montreal, Fleet National Bank, Morgan Stanley and Bank of New England.