Many Hong Kong residents may be surprised to learn there is more to Macau than sangria and dinner at Fernando’s. Sometimes there is business.

Schroder Investment Management and Hong Kong’s Wing Hang Bank have partnered for their first foray into the former Portuguese territory’s mutual fund industry. Wing Hang’s Macanese affiliate, Banco Weng Hang, will begin distributing Schroder funds, says James Campion, director and regional head of mutual funds at Schroders in Hong Kong.

“Macau is a market that has not been the focus of attention for most retail mutual fund companies,” he says. “But it does represent an opportunity, if not a dramatic one. It's close and many of our Hong Kong distributors have a presence there. It is simply a matter of extending our business.”

Campion adds that in previous years, Schroders’ energies have been consumed by Hong Kong’s Mandatory Provident Fund scheme launch as well as breaking into Taiwan. It is now focusing on Korea and China, but had a lull to set up business across the Pearl River Delta. Macau, with a population of less than 500,000, does still require additional registration of funds and other administrative duties.

Banco Weng Hang is kicking off by offering first Schroders’ Hong Kong dollar fixed-income fund as a pilot. It will also offer three guaranteed funds from Hang Seng Bank, says Veronica Leung, product marketing manager. In June, Banco Weng Hang will offer the full product offerings for Schroders, Hang Seng Bank and JF Funds, she says.

Leung says her bank has noticed rising demand for mutual funds in Macau, and notes this is part of a trend for banks to move away from interest rate-based income. She says HSBC, Citibank, Bank of China and several local Chinese and Portuguese banks are already offering mutual funds in Macau.