Home Grown Asset Managers Pan-Asian Pipe Dream

A new report from global analytics firm Cerulli says that homegrown asset managers in Asia will likely struggle to develop a full pan-Asian presence.

Asian asset managers have been making moves to expand their business beyond their home markets in recent years. However, while Asian brands have made significant progress internationally in the auto and technology sectors, the same cannot be said for the asset management industry.

A prime example is Korea's Mirae Asset Global Investments, the largest asset manager in the country. It has been trying to develop a pan-Asian footprint longer than most, starting as far back as 2003 with the opening of its Hong Kong office. The company has also made forays into India, China, and Taiwan. However, its efforts to gather assets across the region have hitherto yielded unspectacular results.

While Cerulli reckons that Mirae Asset did its homework and the necessary preparation, the firm has been hit by setbacks that make its pan-Asian status seem quite hollow at present. It represents a cautionary tale for Asian asset managers seeking to develop a pan-Asian presence.

At present, it has been the likes of Fidelity, J.P. Morgan, and Franklin Templeton that have been able to adapt well to the fragmented Asian markets and successfully establish footholds across the region. The term " pan-Asian" applies more appropriately to them than homegrown Asian players who have ventured abroad in the region.

Will the tide turn? Cerulli expects that it will be difficult because global players that have established their footprints across Asia are well ahead of the game and will be hard to dislodge. Their positions will be further reinforced if investors in secular markets such as Korea and India start thinking about investing in overseas strategies. It will be the global players who can best deliver such strategies.


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