Goldman Sachs plans active onshore funds in India

Goldman Sachs Asset Management is to bring onshore active funds to India, and has accelerated its expansion in the region by agreeing to acquire Benchmark Asset Management, the country’s largest exchange traded fund provider.

If regulators approve the deal, for an undisclosed sum, GSAM will add about $700m to its current $840bn assets under management.

It will also boost its Indian team, which includes eight staff in Mumbai under head Prashant Khemka. The bank also has about 3,000 employees in Bangalore.

Goldman Sachs has served Indian clients since the early 1990s, and opened on onshore office there in December 2006.

It offers equity sales and trading services and fixed income securities, as well as research, investment banking and offshore asset management. It has over $2bn in private equity and principal investments in India.

Khemka’s unit provides research for offshore funds including those investing in Indian and Bric markets.

Oliver Bolitho, GSAM’s head in Asia, said India is “a strategic priority for our firm. The acquisition of Benchmark illustrates our commitment to expand in India.”

Jim O’Neill, GSAM’s chairman, said earlier this month that a recent trip he took including to India and China suggested to him real GDP growth in India could outpace India’s.

This would be the first time this occurred since O’Neill coined the acronym ‘Bric’, encompassing both nations, back in 2001.

This moved a step closer to happening when Beijing recently said its policymakers would focus more on the quality of growth, than quantity.

O’Neill said: “There were some signs that the leadership might go as far in signaling this by adopting a lower ‘target’ for GDP growth of 7% for their twelfth five-year plan. This is indeed what has now been confirmed in a speech from Premier Wen [on 28 February].”

David Walker

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