Thursday, February 19, 2009

SC relaxes rules for fund managers


KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission (SC) is giving greater flexibility for licensed fund managers to provide innovative products, including those which incorporate alternative investment strategies.

The SC said yesterday the new “Guidelines on Wholesale Funds” were rationalised and streamlined to make it easier for fund managers to offer wholesale and retail products.

They would replace the “Guidelines on Restricted Investment Scheme” and the provisions on wholesale funds in the “Guidelines on Unit Trust Funds”.

It said the new guidelines were to enable fund managers to meet the more complex needs of sophisticated or professional investors, like high-net worth investors and institutional investors.

Disclaimer: Reading materials in this site are obtained from its respective website and it is for information purposes only. It is not Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator view and it is not to be used against Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

AmInvestment Bank plans 10 funds this year


KUALA LUMPUR: AmInvestment Bank Group plans to launch up to 10 funds this year, said its director (retail funds) Ng Chze How.

Currently, it has 43 unit trust funds marketed under its retail brand AmMutual and two exchange-traded funds under AmInvestment Bank Group.

“We launched eight unit trust products in 2008. Based on market demand and situation, we expect to maintain this kind of momentum this year,” Ng said at the launch of its first unit trust fund for the year, AmTriple 3O-Capital Protected.

Ng said the fund was expected to provide double-digit returns after three years.

The AmTriple is a closed-end fund linked to the best performance chosen from three dynamic indices which provide diversified exposure to three main asset classes - equity, commodity and money market.

AmTriple 3O has an authorised fund size of 200 million units.

The minimum and subsequent investment amount is RM5,000. — Bernama

Disclaimer: Reading materials in this site are obtained from its respective website and it is for information purposes only. It is not Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator view and it is not to be used against Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator.

Monday, February 2, 2009

SC approves three new foreign IFMCs


KUALA LUMPUR: The Securities Commission (SC) has given approval for three foreign Islamic fund management companies (IFMCs) to start operations in Malaysia.

The regulator said in a statement that the three are Aberdeen Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd, BNP Paribas Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd and Nomura Islamic Asset Management Sdn Bhd.

It said the three companies already have presence in the conventional asset management industry in Malaysia as part of the five licences issued under a special scheme announced in 2005 to broaden international participation in the local capital market.

SC said the three companies' interest to further expand their fund management business indicated their confidence in the Malaysian fund management industry, and reaffirmed the growing interest among international players to make Malaysia the global hub for Islamic fund and wealth management activities.

In granting the approval, SC pointed out that it had considered among other things the scope of operations that would be established by the three IFMCs in Malaysia, their fund management experience, brand value, expertise in various markets, geographical presence, and compliance and risk management capabilities.

"Despite the global slowdown, the coming on board of these three international players reflects the strong growth potential in niche areas like Islamic fund management," said SC chairman Datuk Seri Zarinah Anwar.

Meanwhile, Tokyo-based Nomura Asset Management Co Ltd president and CEO Atsushi Yoshikawa said the company planned to position Islamic fund management as one of its important strategies, adding that the establishment of Nomura Islamic Asset Management would enable it to provide a wide range of products and services to Asia and the Middle East.

"We are very pleased to be awarded a licence for Islamic fund management in Malaysia. BNP Paribas Investment Partners is firmly committed to further develop its existing Islamic investment capabilities," said Vincent Camerlynck, global head of business development and member of the executive committee of BNP Paribas Investment Partners in Paris.

Aberdeen Asset Management Sdn Bhd manging director Gerald Ambrose said: "We're delighted that our application for an Islamic fund management licence has been approved as this enables us to expand into an important new area. The domestic Islamic finance sector has been growing rapidly."

Others who have been approved to establish operations are Kuwait Finance House (Malaysia), DBS Asset Management, CIMB-Principal Asset Management, Global Investment House and Reliance Asset Management.

Disclaimer: Reading materials in this site are obtained from its respective website and it is for information purposes only. It is not Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator view and it is not to be used against Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator.

Fund managers see muted recovery


INVESTORS today are presented with attractive opportunities as considerable value has emerged from the downward spiral in asset values.

Many fund managers think the worst would soon be over and the markets on their way to recovery although it may be fairly muted given the severity of the losses incurred globally.

HwangDBS Investment Management Bhd chief executive officer and executive director Teng Chee Wai notes that investors may start investing again as they digest the bleak economic data in the first quarter of 2009.

“In fact, some investors have already been taking advantage of the lacklustre market to invest in equities that are now trading at relatively attractive prices,” he adds.

In 2008, every asset class – equities, bonds, commodities and properties went through a downward spiral.

Singapore’s Straits Times Index, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and Japan’s Nikkei 225 plunged by more than 40% while crude oil was down 55% last year.

Dragged down by the equities markets, the net asset value (NAV) of the unit trust industry has dropped from RM169bil at end-2007 to RM135bil at end- November 2008. However, the 20% drop in NAV is relatively lower compared with the decline in the commodity and stock market indices.

“This is attributed to the nature of unit trusts – a collective investment scheme with reduced risks due to a diversified portfolio spread across securities, asset classes, managers and countries,” says Federation of Malaysian Unit Trust Managers (FMUTM) president Tunku Datuk Ya’acob Tunku Abdullah.

While volatility and poor economic conditions may persist in the near term, he says a well-diversified portfolio in a unit trust fund will be able to reduce risks and provide better cushion against market fluctuations.

Other industry experts observe that the general investor sentiment towards unit trusts, especially equity-based ones, will continue to be negative this year due to the crisis.

That is also due to the fact that many investors would be tightening their disposal or investible income in anticipation of a sharp economic slowdown.

However, they note that Malaysia’s banking system is still flushed with liquidity and hence, there would be appetite for investment products.

“Moreover, investors may be willing to consider investment products as we enter a phase of low interest rate environment,” HLG Unit Trust Bhd acting chief executive officer and executive director Teo Chang Seng said.

As such, the industry is expected to see more capital-protected funds being launched this year along with other low-risk fixed income products.

“In challenging times, many investors resort to the common notion that cash is king. They are also more concerned about capital preservation instead of potential yield,” says CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd chief executive officer J. Campbell Tupling.

Teng of HwangDBS notes that while the performance of some of its equity-based funds has been affected, its cash and money market funds have shown positive growth, year-on-year.

In view of the falling markets last year, most fund managers reported lower overall total sales and significant decrease in fund management fees as NAV of equity funds, whether local or global, declined considerably.

But on a positive note, redemptions were also considerably lower than in previous years, which is a good sign that investors are holding on rather than making panic sales.

The industry, which expects a rather quiet period this year, is stepping up its housekeeping efforts to improve internal and external efficiencies as well as enhance its delivery system.

For example, Pacific Mutual Fund Bhd is upgrading its administration and customer interface systems to achieve better connection and communication with its direct and third-party customers.

At the same time, HwangDBS is focusing on staff development and rewards to improve investors’ experience and after-sales service.

CIMB Wealth Advisors Bhd chief executive officer Tan Beng Wah says the company will continue with its plans to expand its agency force.

“At the end of 2008, we had close to 7,000 agents. We are targeting to recruit 2,500 agents this year,” he says.

According to FMUTM, it has not seen any significant number of unit trust consultants exiting the industry last year.

“For the year, it was less than 10%, which is much better than in any agency-related industry. The consultants are in for the long haul as they understand the recent market volatility is temporary,” says Ya’acob.

Disclaimer: Reading materials in this site are obtained from its respective website and it is for information purposes only. It is not Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator view and it is not to be used against Malaysia Unit Trusts - administrator.