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 18th and 19th gatekeepers on the list, which is ordered alphabetically. We have already published write-ups for numbers one to 17 (see the list at the end of this article). The full feature appears in the November issue of AsianInvestor magazine.
Head of investment products and advisory
Bank of East Asia (Hong Kong)
Industry veteran Alfred Mak has played a key role in the emergence of Bank of East Asia as a wealth management provider in Hong Kong.
He joined in 2009, four years after BEA launched its wealth management business. Drawing on his experience in insurance and private banking, Mak set out to diversify the firm's investment offerings.
Previously focused on loans and deposits, the bank now has an open-architecture fund platform and has seen assets shift to funds within both the consumer and private banking arms. With an 89-strong branch network, it is among the few local banks growing its wealth management business.
Mak oversees teams covering fund selection, structured products and investment advisory, with more than 20 people reporting to him.
Overall BEA has about 400 authorised funds on its shelf (no hedge funds), with a focus list of 20-30 that it reviews quarterly. Inclusion on the focus list is tied to the investment outlook of the bank. “Today we have a more focused product list than before,” observes Mak.
The bank works with 30 fund houses at present and is planning a discretionary offering next year. “By the time we launch, we expect to have expanded our fund manager list,” says Mak, adding it will also expand via the mutual recognition scheme.
His chief advice to providers is to be specific and prioritise originality in pitches. “No one can be good at everything," says Mak. "Let us know what your strength is during the first meeting."
Asia head of advisory services
Pictet Wealth Management
Switzerland's Pictet has set its sights on becoming a more prominent private bank in Asia and, as such, a bigger distributor and adviser of fund solutions. It is well set up, with full banking licences in Hong Kong and Singapore.
The firm's fund selection process is carried out by a team in Geneva, including for its dedicated list of Asia-focused product. That runs alongside Asia product included in its global approved product list, which comprises some 80 funds at present.
Fund firms seeking to get on Pictet’s shelf are best served by reaching out to Richard Mak, who has worked as the bank’s head of advisory services in Asia for around four years. He previously spent six years in the same role at BNP Paribas's private bank.
Mak (pictured above) and his colleagues mainly advise clients on building discretionary portfolios. They are the link in Asia between fund firms and the Geneva team, and are in regular contact with both.
Mak is open to product ideas and thematic suggestions and is tuned in to the region’s trends. He knows what sells and why and can steer managers on whether Pictet favours value over growth or the US over Europe, for example.
He is also responsible for proposing fund switching, suggesting managers in closer contact with him will be better informed.
The other individuals identified from the list so far: