Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong) has launched the Asia Value Dividend Equity Fund on its Manulife Global Fund (MGF) platform. The fund aims to achieve capital appreciation through investing in a portfolio of equities-related securities of companies that distribute dividends. These companies derive significant income from or have significant operations in the Far East ex-Japan region, including Thailand, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia, Hong Kong and China.

"Asia has become the focus of attention for many investors who are looking for rapid growth and investment opportunities in this region. The question is how to moderate risk while capturing the growth potential in the region," says Raymond Kong, product manager for investment funds at Manulife Asset Management (Hong Kong).

The fund invests in a diversified portfolio of listed securities in the Asia ex-Japan region, with a focus on companies with strong fundamentals and a history of comparatively higher dividend yields.

Companies in Asia with consistent, stable and high dividend distribution record should provide solid returns to investors, the fund house says. Dividends are often regarded as a cushion during hard times, providing investors with support against excessive falls in equities when the market goes through corrections.

Louis So, deputy chief investment officer of Value Partners Group, which manages the fund for Manulife, says the bottom-up stock picking approach will be applied to the new portfolio, targeting to diversify with undervalued and high dividend paying companies selected from the MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan Index.

The fund is geographically neutral to its benchmark, the MSCI AC Far East ex-Japan Index, which means that the fund's country allocation is the same as the Index. This neutrality allows for a diversified country exposure while focusing on stock selection strengths without geographical allocation risk.