Following impressive Asia-Pacific asset growth in the past year, MFS Investment Management has had a very busy few months in the region.
The US firm has boosted its South Korea sales coverage, opened a research and sales office in Hong Kong and moved to new premises in Singapore and Sydney. As if that were not enough, it is considering setting up a branch in Seoul.
MFS's Asia-Pacific-sourced AUM stands at more than $30 billion, up from $22.5 billion in September last year, against a global total that has risen to $278.2 billion as of June 30 from $207 billion over the same period.
Park Hyung-Uk (Anselmo) has joined the company in a newly created role as director of relationship management for South Korea. Based in Singapore, he reports to Jonathan Tiu, senior managing director for Asia ex-Japan.
MFS has two key institutional clients in Korea, for which it runs three mandates, totalling more than $1 billion: one global equity, one European equity and one Asia ex-Japan and Korea equity.
Korea is one of the fastest growing countries in terms of the asset-management industry, notes MFS chairman and CEO Robert Manning. In fact, “from a long-term perspective, MFS may consider establishing a Korean office”, says Carol Geremia, president of MFS Institutional Advisors and co-head of global distribution.
MFS’s new office in Hong Kong is staffed by Lily Cheung, director of relationship management, and Asian equity research analyst Eleanor Shing. Both were internal transfers from Singapore. Cheung covers MFS clients in Hong Kong as well as South Asia.
The growth of MFS’s business in the region has also resulted in a move to new office quarters in Singapore and Sydney. MFS Singapore recently relocated to a larger space on a different floor of Wheelock Place in the Orchard Road area, and MFS Sydney began operations this month in a new building.
The institutional-client-focused firm now has 60 people working in the region.
The opening of the Hong Kong office – combined with the opening this year of an investment research office in Sao Paulo, Brazil -- means MFS has nine investment research offices globally.
MFS also unveiled a new logo and brand positioning last month and, with the planned move of its home office to a new building in Boston at the end of this year, the firm intends to create a common appearance and corporate identity among all its investment and distribution offices globally.