UK-based fund management company New Star International has linked up with Fundsupermart.com for the distribution of its funds through the online investment platform in Hong Kong.

New Star says its decision to add Fundsupermart.com to its distribution network was driven by investor demand in Hong Kong.

ôDistributing our funds via the Fundsupermart.com investment platform is a natural progression for New Star International in the development of our Hong Kong business,ö says Francis Leach, director of sales for Asia at New Star.

ôWe have been very impressed by the success of Fundsupermart.com in Singapore where they are one of the largest distributors of mutual funds to retail clients and look forward to working with them in Hong Kong where we are confident that they can recreate the successful business model that they have in Singapore,ö Leach adds.

Fundsupermart.com is the first pure fund platform that New Star has joined in Hong Kong and the firm believes that fund platforms are an effective and direct way to distribute products to investors. This is New StarÆs first link-up with Fundsupermart.com.

New Star will continue to use other distribution methods such as private banks, life companies and independent financial advisors.

Seven New Star funds will be made available to Hong Kong investors through Fundsupermart.com, namely: the New Star Asian Opportunities Fund co-managed by Ian Beattie and Lucy Bernays; the New Star Euro High Yield Fund managed by Nick Hayes; the New Star European Growth Fund co-managed by Richard Pease and Simon Rowe; the New Star Global Emerging Markets Fund managed by Brian Coffey; the New Star Japan Recovery Fund managed by Chris Burling; the New Star Pan-European Equity Fund managed by Daniel White; and the New Star US Opportunities Fund managed by Greg Kerr.

Banks dominate fund distribution in Asia, but other channels such as IFAs and insurance agents are gradually cutting into their market share. The availability of more distribution channels is seen as a positive in the sense that it would lead to greater competition, lower fees, and increase the emphasis on the distributorsÆ fund advisory role.

New Star was founded in June 2000 by John Duffield, previously the founder of Jupiter Asset Management in the UK.

Fundsupermart.com is the online unit trust distribution arm of iFAST Financial (HK) Limited, which has a dealing and advisory licence from Hong KongÆs Securities and Futures Commission. iFAST Financial (HK) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore-based iFAST Corporation.