GAM looks beyond China with latest Asian Ucits fund

GAM has launched the latest in its range regulated alternatives funds this week, the GAM Star Emerging Asia Equity fund to exploit opportunities in markets making up the Asean regional trading bloc.

The fund will look beyond Asia’s powerhouse of China, to invest in between 35 and 45 companies listed in markets of the bloc, which currently consists of 10 nations.

These are Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Burma, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Together these countries had a GDP of about $1.5trn in 2009, and GDP per capita of $2,500. Its GDP is therefore far smaller than China’s or Japan’s $5trn, or India’s $1.2trn, but eclipses Australia’s $1trn economy and New Zealand’s $118bn, according to Asean’s website.

GAM’s fund will be managed by Michael Lai, a specialist in the region including China and an investment director at GAM, as well as by Camille Vergara.

Their investment approach takes into account global perspectives, but is predominately driven by “regional themes and rigorous bottom-up company analysis,” according to the group.

Mid-cap companies that are under researched and, in GAM’s view, mispriced, are likely to play a prominent role in the portfolio.

The managers will aim to beat the MSCI AC South East Asia index over the long term, by focusing primarily on Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The group said: “Much attention has been paid to China’s dominant growth story, with neighbouring Asean markets often being overlooked.”

The Ucits fund has daily trading, and is authorised for sale in Austria, Finland, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Luxembourg, Macau, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK.

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