ThailandÆs asset-management industry has grown by two, with Phillip Securities and Seamico Securities both receiving approval from the countryÆs Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to set up businesses. The arrival of both firms, which are entrenched brokers in the Thai market, will elevate the number of asset managers in Thailand to 20.

Before officially opening doors over the next three months, both Phillip and Seamico will need to receive SEC approval on their individual operating systems. Under this process, the SEC will conduct thorough audits and assessments of management teams, risk management and broker and asset management IT systems. Once the firmsÆ pass this regulatory check they are then allowed to begin business.

Seamico Asset Management will be run by CEO Duangporn Termwattana. Initially, the firm will focus on fixed income fund, despite the fact that it is attached to one of ThailandÆs leading equity brokerages, and will rely on multiple distribution channels including mobile sales teams.

According to Phillip Securities, it already has an operations and management structure in place, but would not divulge who will manage the new entity.

Phillip and SeamicoÆs standing as the new kids on ThailandÆs asset-management block will probably be brief. License approval for at least two other financial firms is imminent, which are believed to be for Manulife and Kim Eng Securities.

Although it is unclear who will run Kim EngÆs new asset management arm in Thailand, ManulifeÆs venture will be run by Alan Kam, who previously served as managing director of Aberdeen Asset Management.

The 18 firms operating in this market manage 808 funds as of the end of 2006, totalling assets of Bt1.22 trillion ($33.3 billion), representing a 26.82% gain against end-2005.