Skandia Investment Group, the £12.3 billion ($19.3 billion) asset management business of UK firm Old Mutual, is seeking to broaden its product offering in Asia while it debates whether to move its investment capabilities east.
SIG, which is in the process of merging with Old Mutual Asset Managers UK, is poised to announce a new operating name shortly that it hopes will help to avoid customer confusion.
“We are not sure what it will be called but the name is due to be released very soon,” says Jane Fung, Asia managing director for SIG. “Hopefully it will make it less complicated.”
She confirms further structural change is likely within the asset management business. It has operated on an external, sub-advisory model in the past, but its merger with Old Mutual AM has given it some internal management capabilities, particularly UK equities and international bonds.
“Most of our [asset management] capability sits in the UK, but we might possibly be working to move our capabilities east,” she tells AsianInvestor. “Asia is the area that we are thinking of adding on and probably rejigging. That is the area we are very keen on.
“But before it moves east, the team in Asia will have other things to offer soon. All in all we are looking to broaden our scope of product offerings in Asia as well as Europe.”
Fung notes SIG may look to add internal capabilities in areas such as alternative investments, given that to date it has largely focused on the long-only space. She adds that Old Mutual AM has areas of alternatives coverage, including statistical arbitrage and absolute return.
“We are now thinking whether we want to groom certain asset sub-sectors and hire more people, or continue to outsource to others,” says Fung. “So there is a rationalisation to be done.”
Separately, late last week Old Mutual’s wealth management business, Skandia International, announced a trio of appointments in Asia.
Craig Ellis was hired as Asia head of wealth management, based in Singapore. He is due to start tomorrow (August 22) to replace David McDonald, who quit earlier this year.
Ellis was Asia head of the life and wealth business of Allianz. He joins Skandia International’s sales leadership team reporting to sales director Victor France.
Further, Chris Ivinson was promoted to head of sales for Singapore and Southeast Asia, reporting to Ellis. He will be responsible for expanding Skandia International’s distribution base.
And Alan Leung joined Royal Skandia as head of strategic development for the Hong Kong region and reports to Mike Leeson, head of sales for Hong Kong and North East Asia. Royal Skandia is the Isle of Man-based offshore arm of Skandia International and offers tax-efficient investment products aimed chiefly at expats and international investors.
“We are not ruling out further expansion of our teams in Singapore and HK,” says a company spokeswoman based in London. “It is likely there will be further hires within the next 12-18 months.”
Skandia International had £14.6 billion in AUM as at June 30 this year and 472 staff. In Hong Kong it currently has 25, and seven in Singapore (including Ellis).
Old Mutual is an international investment group providing life assurance, asset management, banking and general insurance in Africa, Europe, the Americas and Asia. It had £267 billion in funds under management as at the end of last year.