RCM has obtained a discretionary investment-management business license in South Korea. The approval, colloquially known by industry execs as a ôDimsö license, means RCM has an onshore business that can directly market its global suite of investment products to local institutional investors.

Mark Konyn, regional CEO of RCM in Hong Kong, explains the firm wanted this immediate connection with investors rather than relying on its parent, Allianz Global Investors (AGI). But it will also support AGIÆs existing retail business in Korea, which often distributes RCM products.

The decision reflects an ongoing strategic decision by AGI to allow its various fund-management units to operate under their own brand, with AGI serving as the retail platform and distribution hub. RCM is a San Francisco-based specialist in global equities that was owned by Dresdner Bank, which Allianz Group acquired in 2001.

In the Korean market, RCM will now market to institutions, while AGI will handle the onshore retail business, as well as represent other fund-management units in the group, which include Oppenheimer Capital, NFJ Investment Group and Nicholas-Applegate. Bond house Pimco, acquired by AGI in 2000, has always handled its own branding and marketing.

ôWe want to represent ourselves and make sure the message is clear to the market,ö Konyn says.

RCM had a business in Korea before its acquisition by Dresdner but pulled out in the midst of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, so it is effectively starting from scratch.

Adam Phua, senior marketing manager in Hong Kong, will lead business-development efforts, promoting both global equity products manufactured in California and London, as well as the Asia-Pacific suite. He will remain based in Hong Kong, having transferred there from Singapore in 2006 to look after institutional marketing throughout Asia ex-Japan. Adding dedicated resources, either in Hong Kong or Seoul, will depend on the business RCM attracts.