UK firm Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) has an ambitious buildout planned for Asia beyond its Hong Kong office, including putting its first investment staff in the region and beefing up in distribution and operations.

 

Meanwhile, Jane Fung, OMGI’s Asia head of distribution, moved on yesterday. Sources indicating she has a similar role lined up in Hong Kong, but AsianInvestor could not ascertain where by press time.

 

Fung (pictured below) had been with the firm in its various guises for 10 years. (OMGI was formed by last year’s merger of Skandia Investment Group and Old Mutual Asset Managers (UK), both part of the Skandia group.)

 

The firm has already hired a replacement for her, but could not identify the individual, as it is awaiting licence approval for the new appointment. The executive is working notice at their previous employer and is expected to be in place at OMGI by mid-November.

Asia-Pacific markets are now a key priority for the firm, says Warren Tonkinson, London-based head of distribution at OMGI. “We need to invest in our proposition here in order to be competitive, across distribution, marketing, infrastructure and investment,” he told AsianInvestor while in Hong Kong this week.

Given OMGI’s ambitions, the new regional distribution role will cover a bigger business, says Tonkinson. “Even though we’ve been in Asia for a long time, this is a significant time for the development of OMGI here.”

The firm will also be adding to its distribution and marketing teams “in the near future”, he adds, with further announcements to be expected this year.

There are six primarily sales-focused staff in Hong Kong, but that number will rise, and there are plans to put headcount in Singapore and Taiwan for the first time. Tonkinson declined to give more details, apart from to say: “We need to work with the new head of distribution to decide on what the strategy will entail.”

OMGI is also looking to add its first investment staff in the region with a view to expanding its product range. It has four distinct parts of its investment proposition – equities, fixed income, alternatives and multi-manager/multi-asset – but Tonkinson says it is too early to say where it will be adding first.

Hong Kong and Singapore will be OMGI’s investment hubs, with the former likely to be the primary asset management centre, he says. “But it also depends on the nature of the staff that join and where they’re currently based.”

The firm is looking at potential opportunities that may arise from the proposed China-Hong Kong mutual recognition scheme for funds, notes Tonkinson.

Creating an investment capability means OMGI will need to build up its operational infrastructure in the region, he adds, without giving further details.

The fund house has nine affiliate asset managers on its multi-boutique platform, although none are based in Asia. OMGI is a subsidiary of Old Mutual PLC, which also has several AM affiliates, including UK bond specialist Rogge Global Partners and Boston-based Acadian Asset Management, both with offices in Singapore, and US property manager Heitman, which has a presence in Hong Kong.