Japanese fund house Nikko Asset Management says it is set to boost its multi-asset team with two hires as it moves to launch a new strategy targeting Singaporean institutions.

Al Clark, global head of the firm’s multi-asset team based in Sydney, says the strategy will invest in global equity markets and European and Singapore sovereign bonds. It is pending approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore.

Clark tells AsianInvestor that the two new hires will join its portfolio solutions team within the next month, without adding further details.

Nikko AM now has an 18-strong multi-asset team – an amalgamation of three existing divisions.

It comprises four portfolio managers, two quantitative research and risk staff, and a portfolio solutions team of 12 to pick investment vehicles and research new asset classes.

“Nikko Asset Management had been doing asset allocation type products, but [senior management] decided to integrate those capabilities under one multi-asset umbrella centralised in Singapore,” Clark notes.

He argues that the team has evolved in this way because it needs the flexibility to create solutions across a range of asset classes globally to meet the needs of different clients. A “one-size-fits-all” approach is no longer appropriate, he says.

Clark likens the pending global conservative fund to an absolute-return strategy with “interbank overnight rate plus 2-3%”.

The portfolio management team is preparing a similar low-risk strategy targeting the Japanese market, but Clark says the asset allocation will be different from its pending Singapore solution.

Clark notes that the environment for asset allocation is challenging, but he expects demand for multi-asset products to remain healthy on account of their flexibility, since they can be used for pension solutions, income or insurance products.

Before the end of the year, Clark expects Nikko AM to roll out a high-risk multi-asset strategy potentially investing into commodities and infrastructure assets. The firm may look to broaden its distribution channels for this strategy to target retail and high-net-worth investors.

Clark only joined Nikko Asset Management in March this year from Schroder Investment Management, where he was Asia head of multi-asset, as reported.

Nikko AM has $24 billion in multi-asset AUM both internally and externally managed, out of $168 billion in assets globally. The goal for Clark’s team is to boost the firm’s internally managed funds.