US fund house MFS Investment Management has named Jonathan Tiu as its chief executive officer for Singapore in a newly created role in preparation for a build-out.
The move comes as the firm awaits official confirmation on receipt of a new capital markets services licence from the Monetary Authority of Singapore, sources say.
Such a permit would allow the firm to expand its institutional client base substantially in the region under a new subsidiary, MFS International Singapore. A spokesperson from MFS IM declined to comment on the status of its licence application.
Under the city-state’s Financial Advisors Act, which was enacted in 2001, the firm’s Singapore division is only able to sign 30 accredited and institutional investors, but the number is unlimited for companies with a full fund management licence.
Given his new role, Tiu will be tasked with driving the firm’s growth in the city-state. He also serves as managing director for Asia ex-Japan, having joined the firm in 2008. He maintains his MD title and regional responsibilities.
MFS IM used to be very US-centric, but it has been adding to its resources in Asia, including in IT, human resources, compliance and legal. It now has 70 staff across its Asia offices in Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia. Global offices include its Boston headquarters, as well as London, Toronto, Mexico City and Sao Paulo.
The firm has a six-strong sales team in Singapore, with recruiters indicating it will be looking to add additional sales staff next year. Further hires are understood to be on the cards, including in compliance and IT.
This is an active, long-only manager with 84% of its strategies focused on equities and 16% fixed income. Its style is bottom-up.
It offers a range of long-only Luxembourg-domiciled equity strategies spanning the US, Europe, Asia and emerging markets. It closed its core global equity strategy to new investors as of October 1 this year, having amassed $60 billion. It sees continued sales opportunities next year in global equity, Asia ex-Japan equity and US equity.
MFS IM has been adding assets rapidly, having seen its AUM sourced from Asia Pacific increase 38% year-on-year to $46.7 billion by end-September, by AsianInvestor numbers. Globally it has $385 billion, meaning the region accounts for 12% of its international assets.
That gives it a ranking of 40th in our list of the top 100 firms by assets sourced from the region, which is due to be published in the forthcoming December edition of AsianInvestor magazine.
Its investors include sovereign wealth funds, central banks and public pension funds in China, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore and Taiwan. It will look to add insurance companies to the mix within a year, note sources.
The company’s build-out in Singapore would follow a similar move in July 2012 as it boosted its South Korea sales coverage, opened a research and sales office in Hong Kong and moved to new premises in Singapore and Sydney.