Martin Currie targets key hire to boost Asia assets

The UK-based equity house is seeking a sales rep in Singapore to spearhead fundraising as it strives to bring total Asia-Pacific sourced AUM to 25% by 2018, from 16% today.
Martin Currie targets key hire to boost Asia assets

Edinburgh-based Martin Currie is seeking a sales rep for its Singapore office to spearhead  fundraising as it strives to increase Asia-Pacific-sourced assets by 10 percentage points in the next five years.

At present some 16% of the equity fund manager's $8.5 billion in global assets under management is sourced from Asia Pacific.

“We expect that in the next five years, a quarter of our client-base will be based in the region,” Kimon Kouryialas, head of pan-Asia sales and client services, tells AsianInvestor. Seven years ago, none of the firm’s assets came from regional investors, he adds.

As part of its fundraising initiatives, the firm aims to add a third sales executive in the Lion City early next year. The new hire will work with Kouryialas and Mike Gibb, sales and client services director,  primarily to reach out to institutional investors in China, Hong Kong and Singapore, namely sovereign wealth funds, family offices, endowments, foundations and insurers.

Kouryialas acknowledges that while there is tremendous wealth accumulation across the region, these three markets still account for 80% of the assets.

He splits his time between Singapore and Melbourne. Gibb relocated to the Lion City from its Edinburgh headquarters in July 2012.

Chinese insurers are an area of interest after the mainland’s insurance regulator loosened restrictions on overseas investments. Martin Currie points to huge fundraising potential, estimating that the industry was worth Rmb7.4 trillion ($1.2 trillion) at the end of 2012, up 23% year-on-year.

“The [Chinese] insurance industry is opening up," Kouryialas says. "But it’s still very early on. It’s in the embryonic stage."

He expects it will take at least five years before foreign fund houses see significant flows from Chinese insurers.

Martin Currie’s investment staff are located in Edinburgh with a few portfolio managers and analysts working remotely. The firm has one portfolio manager, Paul Daney, working in Singapore and is seeking to hire a trainee analyst in Singapore.

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