Spy found himself in a grand establishment hosted by an ostentatious French bank in Hong Kong this week. Bollinger was being served by the gallon, to which Lilly Bollinger's wry quote sprung to mind, "I drink champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise, I never touch it—unless I’m thirsty." Lilly is Spy's kind of woman and he notes that Bolly is often James Bond's bubble of choice when dry martinis are unavailable. Cheers!
Value Partners have lost their managing director in Singapore, Chuck Ng, Spy hears. Chuck was managing business development in Southeast Asia and has stepped down from the role. No news on where Chuck is going nor if VP have a replacement for him. Value Partners shares have lost more than half of their value since their 52-week peak, trading currently at HK$8.30 from a high of HK$ 18.10. Perhaps investors should be focusing on the first part of their name?
Christophe Vande Walle will be relocating from Europe to Singapore in 2016. Franklin Templeton has given him a new role (assistant VP for financial institutions), responsible for business development and client relationships in Singapore and Southeast Asia.
Nikko is expanding its team in Hong Kong and has recruited Camilla Wong to join from Swiss asset manager, GAM. Camilla will be helping with local marketing. She has a wealth of experience, including a four-year stint at Schroders. Spy notes she will be joining Jane Chu, who is focusing on institutional sales in Hong Kong for Nikko.
Spy has watched the fund selection and advisory team at HSBC in Singapore look more like a fun fair carousel of late. Since Alex Kwan's departure to LGT, Cheryl Tan joined from Julius Baer and now Cheryl has returned to Julius Baer and John Capetta's team after only three months. Spy hears that George Lam, who has been helping with discretionary fund selection, has partially stepped in to the advisory fund selection role, too. With HSBC GAM appointing a new CEO, Puneet Chaddha, in Singapore, are we going to see a shift to HSBC selling more internal product instead of third party? Watch this space, says Spy.
Hansard, the wealth management platform with regional domicile in Labuan, Malaysia, has hired Michael Wrigley, formerly of Standard Life, to boost their sales effort, hears Spy. He will join their team to build up expatriate sales in the region, mainly focused on the IFA market.
Spy also heard that Edmond de Rothschild in Hong Kong (don’t get those various Rothschild businesses mixed up!) is planning to add two to the staff.
Spy is still reeling from a mind-numbing anecdote shared in Hong Kong this week by Mirae Asset Management. Only 5% of Chinese citizens currently have a passport. If that figure is true, the global tourism industry has room to explode and investing to benefit from that would make long-term sense for any growth portfolio.
Standard Life Investments seem to be vindicated for holding its conviction on absolute return strategies. SLI's results, released this week, looked stellar compared to the rest of the industry. AUM rose 4% reports Fund Selector Asia's sister publication International Adviser, with assets now at $384.2bn. Not bad for 17-year-old asset manager.
Spy's band of roving photographers have seen new asset and wealth management advertising. Barings are promoting their European strategies in Hong Kong. According to a poll of fund selectors this week in Hong Kong, more than 70% are expected to increase their allocation to Europe in the next few months. Not a bad time to be promoting the Ancient Regimes.
Fidelity continues to brand build in Singapore and has taken to taxi advertising once again. The danger of this, of course, is the taxi driver may have a less than stable grip on the road, such as this driver captured almost running over a pedestrian. You may be judged by the company you keep...
AIA is happy to be boring apparently. It all sounds good, but perhaps AIA could also adjust those fund charges to be boring too? Spy still thinks the most expensive way to buy a fund in Asia is via an insurance company and that is pretty boring!