Natixis Global Associates International (NGAI), the international distribution arm of Natixis Global Asset Management (NGAM), yesterday opened a subsidiary in Taiwan.  

The launch of Natixis Securities Investment Consulting Co follows the granting of a securities investment consulting enterprise (Sice) licence by Taiwan's Financial Supervisory Commission. The new entity will be headed by Michael Chang as general manager.

Chang joined the Natixis group in 2003 as director of North Asia sales and business development for Natixis Global Associates in Singapore. He is joined in Taipei by three executives: James Chen as director of research at Natixis Securities Investment Consulting, who moved to Natixis Global Associates in Singapore in June; Sophia Huang as customer service manager, who joined in Singapore in 2004; and Chen-Chen Cheng as finance manager, who started with the company in May.

Natixis initiated plans for the Taiwanese subsidiary in early 2008 as part of a strategic plan to build its distribution business in Asia. "Despite difficult market conditions over the past year, we continued to move this project forward due to our belief in the attractiveness of the Taiwan market and our commitment to strengthening our support of our local business partners, including our master agent Fubon," says Chang.

As for investor demand for the firm's products, the appetite for risk in Taiwan -- and Asia in general -- tends to be higher than for European or US investors, possibly because the population is younger on average, says Chang. As a result, there tends to be demand for more equity and currency-type products at a retail level.

"However, we're also seeing the opening up of the retirement industry in Taiwan," he adds. "And with that will come the need for access to a broad range of investment capabilities in fixed income, equities and alternatives."

NGAI already distributes some of its Luxembourg-domiciled Sicav and Dublin-based funds through the Taiwanese master agent, Fubon, to investors in Taiwan. The Sice licence will enable the new subsidiary to better support those distribution efforts, says the firm.

NGAM says the market in Taiwan is particularly attractive, as it offers an excellent opportunity for NGAM to market a wide range of asset management products to local investors.

The firm also sees having a presence in Taiwan as an important step for its development in North Asia and expects the subsidiary to serve as a model for future growth in other Chinese-speaking markets such as Hong Kong and mainland China. NGAM already has a presence in Singapore and Tokyo.

The launch in Taiwan follows recent tightening of enforcements around the marketing activities of unregistered offshore providers on the island. 

NGAM is a French multi-boutique asset manager with $668 billion under management (as of 30 June), but it does not break AUM down by region. It owns nearly 20 affiliate fund managers and covers a broad range of styles in equities, fixed income, real estate and alternatives.