AsianInvestor’s list of the top 100 fund houses by assets sourced from Asia Pacific indicates impressive growth from the three biggest Thai managers, Kasikorn, SCB and Krung Thai.

Activity is ramping up in Southeast Asia following the unveiling of the Asean Collective Investment Scheme last August. Asset managers have started to launch funds under the passport, with Malaysian firms Affin Hwang (in partnership with Nikko AM) and Maybank Investment Management among the early movers.

Thai fund houses are also eyeing cross-border opportunities, as demand has shot up from their domestic clients for foreign exposure. The biggest domestic player, Kasikorn AM, saw 20% growth in assets under management in the year to September 2014, and a big contributor to this was record flow into its overseas feeder funds. (The third largest, Krung Thai AM, posted growth of 22.53%, as shown in the previous part of the list published this week.)

Kasikorn AM took an unprecedented $1 billion into one product alone during last year – a BlackRock global allocation fund. And in December it closed a JP Morgan global health-care fund at $116 million after one day of its IPO, another record for such a short time.

Navin Intharasombat, first senior vice-president at Kasikorn AM, sees this trend continuing. Only 6% of mutual fund investments in Thailand are currently in foreign assets (via feeder funds) – the firm expects that to grow to 10-15% in the next few years.

Accordingly, the firm is looking to set up Asean-focused funds and is putting teams in place to that end, with a view to also making use of the Asean CIS.

SCB Asset Management, Thailand’s second largest fund house, is also eyeing offshore opportunities, but president Smith Banomyong is in no rush. He notes the firm needs to build its capabilities to compete on a regional basis. In any case, the manager posted AUM growth of 40% last year and expects to see increasing flows from local insurance companies and endowments as they look to diversify portfolios.

Real estate investment trusts (Reits) represent another area of growing opportunity for fund managers in Thailand, he said. Smith expects such investments to pull in more money from wealthy investors once a new inheritance tax is introduced – the cabinet endorsed the draft last November.

“If that comes in, a lot of rich individuals will put their money in trusts,” he said, “and the only one that works in Thailand now is the Reit structure.”

Meanwhile, foreign asset managers will welcome the fact that more onshore opportunities may be coming their way, as distributors in Thailand become more open. Kasikornbank and Siam Commercial Bank, for instance, are moving to put more products on their platform beyond those supplied by their own parents’ funds arms.

But international managers will have to be prepared to receive lower fee margins in Thailand than elsewhere, as SCB AM’s Smith points out. “They will have to calculate whether it’s worth it.”

The top 100 fund houses by AUM from Asia Pacific: numbers 51-75
2014 2013 Company name Geography AP
2014
($bn)
AP
2013
($bn)
%
change
Global
2014
Global
2013
51 49 Aberdeen Asset Management Global firm 39.3 38.0 3.42% 550.0 324.6
52 56 Russell Investment Group Global firm 37.1 33.7 10.09% 275.1 246.9
53 59 Axa Investment Managers Global firm 36.8 32.8 12.27% 766.0 726.0
54 58 Bosera Asset Management Asia-based 36.0 32.9 9.56% 36.0 32.9
55 54 UOB Asset Management Asia-based 36.0* 35.6 1.08% 36.7 35.6
56 55 Wells Fargo Asset Management Global firm 35.7* 35.5 0.39% 338.0 334.0
57 60 Standard Life Investments Global firm 35.2* 28.9 21.71% 333.7 272.0
58 57 Shinko Asset Management Japan-based 34.7 32.9 5.39% 34.7 32.9
59 53 BT Investment Management Australia-based 34.2 35.6 -3.84% 58.0 54.5
60 48 Kokusai Asset Management Japan-based 33.7 38.3 -12.08% 33.7 38.3
61 66 Kasikorn Asset Management Asia-based 33.4 27.9 19.54% 33.4 27.9
62 110 PineBridge Global firm 33.2 28.4 16.90% 70.8 69.1
63 70 SCB Asset Management Asia-based 30.6 22.4 36.67% 30.6 22.4
64 61 Fidelity Worldwide Investments Global firm 29.1* 27.7 5.19% 275.8 260.1
65 73 Principal Global Investors Global firm 29.0 21.2 36.87% 326.9 300.1
66 62 Perpetual Asset Management Australia-based 28.7 27.1 6.17% 28.7 27.1
67 63 KB Asset Management Asia-based 28.1* 24.8 13.34% 28.1* 24.8
68 65 Korea Investment Management Asia-based 27.0 23.8 13.34% 27.0* 23.8
69 51 E-Fund Asia-based 26.3 37.0 -28.87% 26.3 37.0
70 64 Dimensional Fund Advisors Global firm 25.8 23.9 7.95% 372.0 315.4
71 76 Lion Global Investors Asia-based 25.3 18.7 35.15% 25.6 23.7
72 67 GF Fund Management Asia-based 23.9 23.0 3.87% 23.9 23.0
73 68 Lazard Asset Management Global firm 23.7 22.9 3.56% 178.8 159.3
74 87 HDFC Mutual Fund Asia-based 22.1 15.0 47.35% 22.1 15.0
75 80 Platinum Asset Management Australia-based 21.3 17.7 20.06% 21.3 17.7
*AsianInvestor estimates