Nomura Asset Management has formally entered the Malaysian fund management space, establishing its own domestic firm in Kuala Lumpur. The entity will be known as Nomura Asset Management Malaysia (NAM KL).

Nomura enters the market as the second licensed foreign fund manger following the announcement made by Aberdeen Asset Management in 2005 that it had received the same approval.

The Kuala Lumpur offices will be run by Nor Rejina Abdul Rahim, who takes on the title of managing director of Nomura Asset Management Malaysia. Her team will consist of four staff members in Malaysia and will likely expand as the business grows. Within this organisation there is also a dedicated Malaysian-born portfolio manager that brings over eight years of related experience.

The Japanese firm applied for the license from the Securities Commission of Malaysia in June 2006 and receiving preliminary approval in August before officially setting up the entity in December.

From the onset, Nomura Asset Management Malaysia will target investors such as major pension funds, government agencies and institutional investors, including the $75 billion Employees Provident Fund (EPF).

At present, roughly 4% of the EPF?s total asset pool has been outsourced to external managers. The government is pushing the EPF to invest overseas and it is expected to double its international allocation this year, representing the biggest opportunity for Nomura.

The firm will initially offer its core Asian equity investment product to clients in Malaysia. Within this basket are stocks from not only Malaysia, but also from other ASEAN markets and equity from Nomura?s home market of Japan. As the business grows in Malaysia, Nomura also expects to launch fixed-income funds and Islamic investment products to meet local client demand.

?Nomura has an established reputation in Malaysia and the new office will strengthen our position among targeted investors such as major pension funds, government agencies and institutional investors, and we will expand our services to Malaysian clients,? says Rahim. ?We plan to offer our core Asian equity investment product and diversify our product range to meet the various needs of these investors.?

Under the Malaysian government scheme to accelerate the growth of its capital markets and encourage increased offshore investments, five foreign fund management licenses were put on the blocks in 2005. Outside of the approvals granted to Aberdeen Asset Management and Nomura, three spots remain available. However, it is rumoured that within the near term, BNP Paribas Asset Management will formally announced its entrance as the third fully licensed foreign fund manager in Malaysia.