AsianInvestor conducted a recent project to identify the most influential protagonists in fund selection and distribution in Hong Kong and Singapore. You can find more background on the project by clicking here.
Here we unveil the 22nd and 23rd gatekeepers on the list, which is ordered alphabetically. We have already published write-ups for numbers one to 21 (see the list at the end of this article). The full feature appears in the November issue of AsianInvestor magazine.
Head of investment funds advisory for Asia, BNP Paribas Wealth Management
A fund distribution veteran, Agnes Sng is responsible for manager selection and distribution of long-only funds and hedge funds for BNP Paribas Wealth Management’s clients in Asia. She joined in 2007 from HSBC Private Bank, where she was head of investment funds for five years.
Sng works with bankers to develop a recommended list of funds for Asian clients. These must first be approved by due diligence specialist FundQuest, a unit of BNP Paribas Investment Partners whose investment team conduct manager selection locally.
But Sng has influence in getting Asia-centric funds included on the list. “Asian clients have specific needs and demands, hence we need to include Asia-focused funds as appropriate,” says Sng. “Some of our fund launches were promoted by our team in Asia first, and later in Europe.”
The French private bank has a list of more than 150 recommended funds across asset classes and themes, working collaboratively with its investment management affiliate to conceive and plan new product ideas.
“Through this partnership we have been able to offer funds to our clients first, ahead of competitors,” Sng reflects.
Beyond standard communication channels for fund promotion, Sng notes the bank has worked closely with fund houses on customised events for its bankers. “These have worked well with fund launches,” she notes.
Head of portfolio specialists for Singapore, UBS Wealth Management
A 30-year wealth management veteran, Paul Stefansson assumed his role this June following an organisational restructuring. Previously he was the bank’s head of investment funds, hedge funds and private equity for Asia Pacific, heavily involved with the fund selection team.
Now he leads the portfolio specialist team at UBS Wealth Management in Singapore, managing the team to deliver investment advice. He is responsible for distribution of discretionary mandates and funds.
“We are looking for either new asset classes or funds that have high alpha and are first-quartile in five and 10-year performance,” he says.
Stefansson is sought-after for his views on investor demand. He is also approached to consider new investment ideas, although he prefers providers to meet colleague James Fava, head of product and management of funds for Asia Pacific (who is also on this list). “The due diligence team is responsible for fund approval,” Stefansson says.
UBS has more than 1,000 long-only funds on its platform, not to mention funds in the alternative and ETF arenas. It works with numerous external managers across advisory and discretionary business.
It is the world’s largest private bank with Sfr2 trillion ($2 trillion) in assets globally, with Sfr274 billion in assets sourced from Asia Pacific as of this June. Given this size and the prevalence of funds on its platform, UBS WM is highly influential on flows, with Stefansson integral to the process.
An avid reader on history, science and technology, Stefansson has a role in selecting funds for the recommended list from UBS’s approved funds list. Providers should know the CIO view is key at UBS, the chief driver for all investment decisions.
“I love fund managers, but we’re looking at either new asset classes or products that haven’t been on anyone’s platform,” Stefansson states.
The other individuals identified from the list so far: