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 16th and 17th gatekeepers on the list, which is ordered alphabetically. We have already published write-ups for numbers one to 15 (see the list at the end of this article). The full feature appears in the November issue of AsianInvestor magazine.
Deputy general manager and head of treasury product management
Simplicity is what appeals to Gary Leung – a reflection of increased regulatory scrutiny post-crisis and the needs of the retail customers he serves. The two go hand in hand, since regulators are especially stringent on product suitability for retail investors.
Fund approvals at BOC (HK) must be endorsed by eight departments, with the time it takes for approvals dependent on complexity and fund familiarity.
The bank has some 560 authorised mutual funds on its platform – or more than 900 if all currency and share classes are included – which are distributed via its 150-strong branch network.
Leung (pictured left) oversees three lines of business: mutual funds, insurance, and treasury and structured products, including FX, precious metals trading, structured deposits, equity-linked investments and margin trading.
Owing to regulatory stringency, BOC (HK) moved to ditch its provision of investment-linked assurance schemes two years ago from a cost perspective.
Leung has an 80-strong team, half of whom are product managers responsible for due diligence and reviewing product management systems and processes.
The product trend in recent times has been to provide supplementary income, given the continued low-yield environment. But that has added complexity, which BOC (HK) does not welcome.
This presents Leung and his team with their greatest challenge: keeping solutions simple in a fast-changing and volatile market that is difficult for retail investors to stomach. “That is why we are looking for more all-weather, absolute return-style products,” he says.
Head of investor relations for Asia
JP Morgan Private Bank
Years working as an equity manager have sharpened Lina Lim’s instincts for portfolio construction and market cycles.
Now, as a fund selector, she prioritises consistent performance and responsive communication from product providers. “Having a good partnership between asset management and private banking is extremely important,” Lim says, “as is accessing portfolio managers.”
She heads a lean fund advisory team for JP Morgan Private Bank across Hong Kong and Singapore. While the due diligence staff are based in London and New York, Lim’s team provides them with valuable feedback from Asia. She estimates she makes five calls to managers every day and holds three or four meetings a week, year-round.
Lim plays up the one-bank approach, whereby she works closely with relationship managers across discretionary portfolio management and brokerage.
Overall the private bank has about 200 mutual funds on its platform. It works around a CIO view, so it knows what its high-conviction calls are and therefore where to begin searching for solutions.
At the same time, Lim is positive on proactivity among buy-side manufacturers. “It has to work both ways for a strong partnership,” she says. “They should share with us what the market trends are, and which products they are developing.”
The private bank selects fund solutions based on people, processes, philosophy and performance. Fund size is not a consideration, and chosen strategies are made available across its platform globally.
The other individuals identified from the list so far: