AsianInvestor conducted a recent project to identify the most influential individuals in fund selection and distribution in Hong Kong and Singapore. You can find more background on the project and criteria for our choices by clicking here.
Here we unveil the 12th and 13th gatekeepers on the list, which is ordered alphabetically. We have already published write-ups for numbers one to eleven (see the list at the end of this article). The full feature appears in the November issue of AsianInvestor magazine.
Head of funds and ETFs, Asia Paciﬁc private banking and wealth management
A yoga fan, Rodolphe Larqué has stretched every sinew to repurpose fund advisory and distribution since starting in July 2014 at Credit Suisse, whose private banking unit ranks among the largest in Asia with Sfr133 billion ($135 billion) in regional assets.
He oversees the selection of Asian funds and ETFs for the bank globally, estimating that his team contributes 20% of all recommended funds on the platform. Larqué is also in charge of distribution of globally recommended products into Asia Pacific, so he has influence on which funds get on the list.
To keep bankers focused on high-conviction funds in line with in-house research, Larqué picks just five funds to promote from the recommended list of around 70 for Asia Pacific every quarter. That is out of a global list out of about 300. Currently there are 12 funds on Larqué’s high-conviction list, which garner the majority of flows in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Since arriving, he has encouraged engagement between bankers, clients and fund providers. “Credit Suisse has historically been distributing funds on its own without a lot of engagement with fund houses. But it has become clear that bankers want to hear from fund providers, so we started doing more events this year,” he notes.
Larqué has developed a 'rules of engagement' booklet for providers containing information on the bank’s team structure, selection and distribution processes.
It also includes a list of dos and don’ts. Providers are prohibited, for example, from proactively promoting funds not already on the high-conviction list. Even then they are only allowed to talk about funds on the recommended list if bankers and clients ask.
Larqué advises providers to respect the rules or reduce the chances of getting on its platform. “If they are not playing by the rules, they cannot play,” he says.
Senior investment manager
Axa China region
Maintaining objectivity is something Daniel Lau (pictured below) has learned in the near-decade he has been working as part of the fund selection team at French insurer Axa. “Fund houses always come up with exciting presentations, but I try to be objective rather than focus on just catchy themes,” says Lau, who has covered Hong Kong for the firm since July 2006.
Axa’s selection team performs bottom-up due diligence on funds authorised in Hong Kong and submits its choices to an internal committee, which approves all funds to be added.
Lau’s chief concern is to align the firm’s investment outlook with the financial goals of its policyholders. “We look at performance and sustainability,” he says.
Whereas his role used to fall under the remit of the chief marketing officer, now the due diligence team reports to chief investment officer Jaijit Kumar.
Lau believes the Hong Kong-China mutual recognition scheme will shake up fund selection. “We are looking at products for onshore managers,” he notes. “This will be an important factor in years to come.”
The other individuals identified from the list so far: