Samsung Asset Management has hired its first Hong Kong head of exchange-traded funds and is readying more leveraged and inverse products, AsianInvestor can reveal.

Carmen Cheung joined the South Korean firm in September, reporting to Peter Lee, Seoul-based head of global strategy for ETF and index investments at Samsung AM, she told AsianInvestor. Her licence with the company took effect on October 18, according to Hong Kong's Securities and Futures Commission.

Cheung said her role was a newly created one, with Lee previously overseeing the Hong Kong ETF business from South Korea. Including Cheung, Samsung AM now has six people in its ETF team in the city, she said: two portfolio managers, one salesperson and two assistants.

  Carmen Cheung

Cheung was formerly Hong Kong-based head of ETFs at Mirae Asset Global Investments, the international arm of South Korea's Mirae Asset. She left the position in October last year and said she had not worked since then for personal reasons.

After Cheung left Mirae Asset, David Quah was promoted internally to replace her, but he left in August to join Hong Kong-based fund house Value Partners as co-managing director of quantitative investment solutions.

Following Quah's departure from Mirae Asset, Cho Wan-youn, Hong Kong-based managing director of global ETF solutions, continues to oversee ETF business development in the city alongside ETF specialist Julia Chan.

Low turnover

Samsung AM has five ETFs listed in Hong Kong, all based on futures. Four are L&I products that track futures contracts on the Hang Seng Index (HSI) and Hang Seng China Enterprises Index (HSCEI), while the fifth is an ETF that tracks crude oil. There are now 30 L&I products listed in the city.

The most successful of Samsung’s L&I funds in Hong Kong in terms of trading volume is its HSCEI daily 2x leveraged product, which has posted average daily turnover of HK$55.7 million ($7.1 million) this year as of November 1. This exceeds the figures for any its rivals’ HSCEI 2x leveraged ETFs.

However, average daily turnover for Samsung's other four L&I products in Hong Kong is well below that of the competition. For instance, its HSI daily 2x leveraged ETF has a figure of HK$11.4 million, compared to HK$72.9 million for the equivalent fund from Hong Kong-based CSOP. 

Samsung AM was the first firm to list L&I ETFs in Hong Kong, in June last year, but the first products—listed in June last year and tracking Japan and Korean indexes—struggled to achieve sufficient volumes. In July it delisted the first six L&I products it had previously launched, which also include the HSI Futures ETF and the HSI Futures RMB FX ETF, both of which were issued in February this year. 

The delisting was a strategic decision, Cheung told AsianInvestor: because demand was not great, the company decided to switch resources to other new products. She said she remained optimistic on L&I funds and that the firm would roll out new funds as early as the second half of next year.

Cheung will be one of the speakers next week at Inside ETFs Asia, a two-day forum co-hosted by AsianInvestor

To provide the latest insights on Asia's ETF landscape, AsianInvestor is co-hosting Inside ETFs Asia at the Grand Hyatt in Hong Kong on November 8-9. For further details, visit the website or contact Terry Rayner via email or on +852 3175 1963.