Paik Chang-ki, CEO at Tong Yang Asset Management in Seoul, says the firm is growing its relationships with investors throughout Asia.

The Korean asset-management industry today has reached about W300 trillion ($267 billion), of which 80% consists of domestic investments and 20% overseas investments. “But the overseas portion will grow faster,” Paik says.

This is leading Tong Yang AM to extend its business overseas. This can mean both launching products for Korean investors, as well as providing services to Asian institutional investors.

On the product side, the firm already has a Vietnam fund (with a research office in Ho Chi Minh City dating back to 2006), and a China A-share fund. It also offers other emerging-market products such as Brazilian fixed income, as well as global bond funds with a focus on convertible instruments.

But this is only a start. “We plan to enter Asia, step by step,” Paik says. “I see a lot of opportunity.”

Paik spent six years with parent Tong Yang Securities working in its Manila office, and he knows the Philippines well. Tong Yang Securities also has a business in Jakarta. Those branches give Tong Yang AM a ready distribution partner on the ground.

Along with Indonesia and the Philippines, the firm is looking at a Mekong Delta strategy, incorporating Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia.

Naturally Paik’s team is also looking at China. It already manages China products for Korean investors. Tong Yang AM is interested in developing a partnership that takes it further into China, if not this year, then in 2012.

In addition to developing markets, Tong Yang AM has been in advanced talks with prospects in Japan. It’s a cash-rich market, and its financial institutions are interested in accessing the Korean story. “They are eager, but getting anything finalised is a slow process,” Paik says of that market.