John Shin has left Fidelity Investments in Seoul to join Standard Life Investments as its chief representative for Korea. His main role will be to establish the firm's service and distribution relationships and he will report to James Cooper, investment director in Hong Kong, who is managing the firm's overall Korea strategy.
Although Cooper has many years of service in Korea, both with Standard Life Investments as well as with his previous employer, State Street Global Advisors, it was felt a local was required to cement relationships. Standard Life Investments' immediate aim is to provide offshore investment products, and will need offshore distribution and to register its Sicav funds. Shin will spearhead relationships with domestic banks and non-life insurance companies.
Looking ahead a few years, the firm will also want to broaden its local relationships, perhaps with entities holding an investment advisory or investment trust management licence, and develop products for the domestic market, says Mark Bennett, head of business development in Hong Kong. Standard Life Investments now manages $2.5 billion in Asia Pacific ex-Japan equities, and has had a Seoul rep office since May, 2002.
Shin has nine years of strategic marketing experience in Korea, most recently as head of marketing at Fidelity. He will not be replaced, however, says Evan Hale, general manager in Seoul. Rather his duties will be assumed by Janet Doh, office manager.
The reason, says, Hale, is that Fidelity has just this week acquired its licence to be an investment advisor, upgrading its presence from a rep office to a local office. "Investment advisors can't sell directly or market specific products," he says. Shin had been busy doing other things besides marketing during his tenure, and the firm decided it didn't need a full-time marketer. Its investment advisors provide all the communication Fidelity needs.
The firm's next step is the pre-application process for an investment trust management licence, which would allow it to market and sell its own products onshore. 'Pre-application' means Fidelity is beginning formal discussions with the Financial Supervisory Commission about what the firm will and will not be allowed to do. Fidelity is keen to bring its funds trading platform to Korea and wants to make sure that both it and the regulators agree on exactly what Fidelity will be allowed to do, before it signs off on getting an ITM licence.
Hale says that when the firm gets closer to winning an ITM licence it may consider upgrading the marketing role.