OMGI adds product specialist, eyes retail buildout

The UK fund house has appointed a regional product and strategy manager and is planning two new retail funds for launch in Hong Kong as part of its expansion strategy.
OMGI adds product specialist, eyes retail buildout

UK-based firm Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI) is continuing its Hong Kong buildout, with a new regional product manager and two retail funds in the pipeline, AsianInvestor understands.

Dickson Mak has joined the firm as senior product and strategy manager for Asia based in Hong Kong, according to his LinkedIn profile. He has formerly worked as a product specialist at Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission.

Most recently Mak was product manager within the investment management team at BNY Mellon. Before that he worked at Credit Suisse.

OMGI declined to confirm Mak's appointment. But Carol Wong, OMGI's Asia head of distribution who joined the firm last November, has said more hires are planned.

Last week OMGI announced it had appointed a trio of Asian equity specialists from BlackRock in newly created roles as it moves to bring two externally managed funds in-house.

The new team will take over management of two externally managed funds from October 15: the $270 million Old Mutual Pacific Equity Fund and the $40 million Old Mutual Asian Equity Fund. These are sub-funds of Dublin-domiciled umbrella products.

OMGI has since confirmed plans to convert the Asia fund into an income-focused product, subject to regulatory approval.

As for the two retail funds pending approval from Hong Kong's SFC, one is understood to be a monthly income high-yield bond product that will be managed out of the UK, where it will be launched at the end of this month. The other is a UK equity product, say sources.

Importing funds for registration in Asia, and manufacturing in Hong Kong is OMGI's strategy. It is one of a number of managers expanding their retail offering in Hong Kong.

OMGI chief executive Julian Ide recently told AsianInvestor that expanding in Hong Kong was a “strategically important move for us as it’s the only other place outside of the UK that we will manage money for the foreseeable future. We only want manufacturing in the places where we have distribution."

The $28 billion OMGI was created in 2012 from the merger of Skandia Investment Group’s multi-manager business with Old Mutual Wealth manager business. “The impetus for growing [in Asia] was the merger,” said Ide.

“We went through a pretty tough restructuring, letting 30% of the staff go in the summer of 2012 to emerge as a profitable, scalable business.”

The firm has been in the hiring markets. Iris Tsui joined this April as senior sales manager. She reports to Asia head of sales Kylie Chan, who in turn reports to Wong.

A raft of other companies are setting up or building out in Hong Kong with an eye on the Rmb100 trillion-plus ($16.3 trillion) of deposits in China that could be accessed when cross-border mutual fund recognition with the mainland is implemented.

Equity broker CLSA announced plans to launch a range of smart-beta ETFs in Hong Kong by the end of the year, while Natixis Global Asset Management is expanding its range of retail Ucits funds in Asia. BlackRock, Franklin Templeton and Vanguard are also building HK-domiciled fund ranges.

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