French fund house Natixis Global Asset Management has refashioned its emerging markets business into an autonomous unit that will focus on small-cap growth stocks.

It has moved to unite its EM teams into one affiliate that it has rebranded Emerise under the Natixis umbrella, setting it the goal of tripling its AUM by 2020.

Separately, Natixis has added to its headcount in Singapore in recent weeks and is now looking to hire a buyside analyst.

The new affiliate Emerise was officially launched yesterday, headed by Stephane Mauppin-Higashino, chief executive of Natixis Asset Management Asia.

Singapore-based Mauppin-Higashino, who joined Natixis in May 2014, after more than seven years with Amundi in Paris, said the new business intended to refocus “on the original principles of emerging markets investing: growth and diversification”.

He said the new business would concentrate on small- and mid-cap stocks in a bid to invest in the highest-growth firms. The EM business currently has 70% of its investments in Asia; its three other fund groups focus on global, Latin America, and emerging Europe.

Asked why Natixis moved its EM business into an affiliate, the firm said there were advantages to the model: “Affiliates are totally independent and autonomous in terms of investment process, decision, management.”

The Emerise business is comprised of 10 staff – six in Singapore and four in Paris.

Stephane Mauppin-Higashino told AsianInvestor that it had hired an analyst for the Singapore office who was joining early next month, and it was looking to hire an additional buyside analyst for the team in the city-state.

The Emerise team includes Singapore-based global emerging CIO François Théret, and Matthieu Belondrade, Paris-based head portfolio manager for EMEA and Latin America.

Mauppin-Higashino added that Emerise had around $1 billion in assets under management as of the end of March 2015, and under the new structure aimed to increase this to $3 billion by 2020.