Allianz Global Investors, one of the world's largest asset managers, plans to send boutique and specialised investment managers to Asia in an attempt to woo Asian investors with more sophisticated needs, a company executive said on Thursday.
The German company, which is a part of the insurance giant Allianz (ALVG.DE), plans to bring fund managers such as the Texas-based NFJ Investment Group to the Asia-Pacific region in 2010, Lawrence Tse, chief marketing officer with Allianz Global Investors in Hong Kong told Reuters. Globally, top bond fund PIMCO serves as Allianz's investment platform for fixed income and RCM for equities, while Nicholas-Applegate, Oppenheimer Capital and NFJ Investment Group are the specialist managers.
A part of Allianz Global Investors' growth has come through acquisitions, and that part is over. Now, it's time for the company to take the fund managers it believes to its customers in different parts of the world, said Tse.
NFJ, which had assets under management of more than $26.1 billion as of June 30, 2009, follows a focused value-investment approach and runs the NFJ Dividend, Interest & Premium Strategy Fund (NFJ.N) which raised $2.5 billion in its initial public offering in 2005.
NEW NORMAL STRATEGY
Allianz's new product launches are influenced by the new normal line of thinking espoused by its influential bond fund manager Bill Gross earlier this month.
Gross's world view revolves around lower economic growth and more government intervention and predicts the re-emergence of inflation and more volatility in the financial markets.
With the belief that emerging economies will lead global growth, Allianz launched its Allianz RCM Greater China Dynamic fund in September which has an initial capacity to mange up to $1 billion.
When the markets are going down, the only thing on the rise is the correlation between asset classes. And the question is, is cash the most efficient way to manage risks?, said Tse.
This fund will manage risks by shorting index futures....this may not save the day but at least it will be able to preserve most of the capital in the fund, he said.
Allianz Global is also studying the possibility of launching thematic funds in Asia, one of which will seek to harness the increasing popularity of clean energy issues such as Chinese rechargeable battery maker BYD (1211.HK).
The firm launched a Luxembourg domiciled Allianz-dit Global EcoTrends Fund in May 2006 but is still waiting to be convinced about the opportunity for a similar offering in Asia where the population has been slower to warm up to the subject of environmental protection. (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)