After announcing a partnership with Korea’s biggest asset manager and its affiliated brokerage this week, US-based Neuberger Berman saw a new salesperson start in Seoul yesterday.
The US fund house will work with Samsung Asset Management and Samsung Securities to offer existing products and co-develop new strategies. This comes after Neuberger registered a nine-strong range of Ucits funds* in Korea in September.
Korea has proved a difficult market for foreign firms to crack – take Goldman Sachs Asset Management’s withdrawal in late 2012. The closure came after five years of losing money and put an end to a sub-advisory relationship with Tong Yang Asset Management.
But Ryo Ohira, head of East Asia at Neubeger, appears relaxed about the challenges the firm faces. Asked why he felt it would succeed where GSAM failed, he noted that some foreign fund managers had been successful in Korea.
He added that he did not see any challenges specific to this market. “If we provide the right strategies, I have a lot of confidence that we’ll do well.”
No doubt having the support of the country’s biggest asset manager and brokerage combination must provide a great deal of comfort.
Having opened a rep office in Seoul in 2011, Neuberger now has several sales staff on the ground. It recently made another addition to the team, who started this week, having moved from JP Morgan Asset Management, but Ohira declined to identify the person or reveal the size of the team.
Chung Youngwoan, head of the strategic business division at Samsung Securities, said the new partnership will provide his firm with a broader range of global products to sell to clients. The plan is also to create new strategies using Neuberger Berman’s resources and Samsung’s investment ideas.
Neuberger’s private equity arm already has several clients in Korea – its total committed capital from Japanese and Korean investors surpassed $1 billion last month. The firm managed $31 billion in alternatives assets globally as of June 30, 2014.
The agreement with Samsung follows expansion elsewhere in Asia by Neuberger earlier this year. This came in the form of a new Ucits range of funds registered in Hong Kong and Singapore and new headcount added to the sales team in those two locations with a view to expanding into the retail market.
Neuberger runs strategies across equities, fixed income and alternative investments, with a total AUM of $247 billion.
* The range of funds is: Neuberger Berman High Yield Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman US Multi Cap Opportunities Fund, Neuberger Berman China Equity Fund, Neuberger Berman US Small Cap Fund, Neuberger Berman Short Duration High Yield Bond Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Market Debt – Hard Currency Fund, Neuberger Berman Emerging Market Corporate Debt Fund, Neuberger Berman US Strategic Income Fund and Neuberger Berman US Long Short Equity Fund.