Investors and asset managers who executed their strategic priorities amid changing market dynamics and market volatility came out as winners in The Asset Triple A Investor and Fund Management Awards 2018.
Despite rising interest rates, global geopolitical disputes and trade friction, 2017 saw excess liquidity in both the equity and fixed income markets in Asia. This pushed asset prices to historical highs. With China's issuers continuously tapping the offshore market, investors need to be more selective and smarter to identify the right investment opportunities to generate returns.
In Asia two key themes shaped the asset management industry during 2017: fast growing numbers of offshore Chinese investors, plus regulatory developments indicating reforms that are opening up new markets for investors and asset managers.
In 2017, China's asset managers accelerated their global expansion by building up their offshore arms while investing heavily in the offshore market. Their yield-driven investment style boosted growth in the asset market and drove down asset yields.
China led the region on regulatory developments with the launch of the Bond Connect between mainland China and Hong Kong. Launched in July 2017 it enables overseas investors to gain easier access to China amid a more stable or stronger renminbi against the US dollar.
Although overseas investors still favour the CIBM (China Interbank Bond Market) direct scheme (launched in 2016) because it is more efficient, Bond Connect is still widely seen as positive for the asset management industry. Thanks to MSCI's decision to include A shares in its emerging market index, China's domestic financial markets could see more international money. Other regional markets were also volatile and saw rising interest rates. Asset owners and asset managers that skilfully navigated these changing conditions came out ahead of peers.
In this context The Asset announces the winners of the Investor and Fund Management Awards 2018.
Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia
J.P. Morgan Asset Management won the Asset Management Company of the Year award for Asia. The company managed US$172 billion for clients in Asia Pacific at end 2017, with AUM up 29% from 2016.
The company's top achievements in 2017 include launching International ETFs business, incorporating Chinese renminbi asset class assumption matrices into its Long-Term Capital Market Assumptions research to meet the needs of China institutional investors, achieving "Plan to Encourage Stronger Business Ties in Taiwan for Offshore Funds" for the 5th consecutive year, and expanding in Southeast Asia through feeder fund structures, distribution agreements and advisory relationships.
Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia — Equity
The Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia – Equity went to Barings. In 2017, Barings captured the growth opportunities of Asian equity markets. Its flagship fund, Baring Asia Growth Fund, achieved an 11.1% return over the five years to end 2017. Barings incorporated ESG factors into the valuation process of its equity portfolio.
Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia — Fixed Income
The Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia — Fixed Income went to Barings. Focusing on fixed income instruments, the emerging market local debt fund rose 19.4% in 2017. It is adopting ESG factors into credit selection.
Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia — Mixed Asset
Aberdeen Standard was awarded Asset Management Company of the Year, Asia — Mixed Asset. Aberdeen received new multi-asset mandates from a range of institutional investors in 2017. Flagship fund Aberdeen Global — Multi Asset Growth Fund gained 8.6% in 2017.
Pension Fund of the Year
National Pension Service of Korea (NPS) won Pension Fund of the Year. With US$583.6 billion in assets at end 2017, NPS is the world's third-largest public pension fund. To maximize long-term returns within the risk tolerance, NPS shifted some investments from domestic fixed-income assets toward global assets and alternatives. In 2017, the strategy underpinned gains of US$38.2 billion (+7.3%).
The Real Estate Investor of the Year
The Real Estate Investor of the Year award went to Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Link Reit). This is the fourth year in a row that Link Reit has won the award (previously Property Investor of the Year). In the year to end February 2018 Link Reit made one acquisition, and disposed of a record high 17 properties raising HK$23 billion. In April 2017 the company announced it had bought Metropolitan Plaza, a retail property in Guangzhou, for HK$5 billion (US$590 million).
ESG Investor of the Year
BNP Paribas Asset Management in Hong Kong and Malaysia were recognized as ESG Investor of the Year. With ESG factors incorporated into the investment strategy, BNP Paribas Asset Management continues to champion corporate social responsibility (CSR).
Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Equity
Joanna Kwok, executive director and portfolio manager within the Asia-Pacific Dynamic team of J.P. Morgan Asset Management, won Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Equity. Kwok manages the JPMorgan Asia Fund, JPMorgan Asia Growth Fund, JPMorgan Funds — Asia Growth Fund, plus JPMorgan Eastern Smaller Companies Fund. The JPMorgan Asia Growth Fund posted 4.0% annualised excess returns over the past three years, as of 28 February 2018.
Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Mixed Asset
Leon Goldfeld, managing director and chief market strategist at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, was awarded Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Mixed Asset. Goldfeld manages the JPMorgan Multi-income Fund which produced an attractive risk-adjusted yield thanks to investing globally across a variety of income-generating asset classes.
Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Private Equity Fund of Funds
Doug Coulter, partner at LGT Capital, was awarded the Fund Manager of the Year, Asia — Private Equity Fund of Funds. Coulter leads a dedicated private equity investment team of 12 professionals in Asia. It has expanded its product range and tracked 9% annual AUM growth in the past five years.
Esther Teo, director of fixed income at Affin Hwang Asset Management Berhad, was awarded Fund Manager of the Year, Malaysia — Fixed Income. Ryan Shen, fund manager of Capital Investment Trust, was awarded Fund Manager of the Year, Taiwan — Equity.
For a full list of winners please click here