Sunday, 9 August 2009

Ashmore opens in Japan and China

Financial News

Jason Corcoran in Moscow

27 July 2009
Emerging markets fund specialist Ashmore Investment Management is expanding by opening offices in China and Japan.

A source close to Ashmore said it was already recruiting for an operation in China and for a sales office in Japan. Ashmore is also expected to start working in Russia at the end of this year or in early 2010, the source said.

Ashmore, which manages about $25bn (€18bn), last year opened operations in Brazil and Turkey in a bid to increase its local presence in emerging markets, to raise more capital and to add more country-focused funds.

In 2007, Ashmore entered into a joint venture with private equity firm Alchemy Partners to invest in distressed debt and special opportunities in India.

Jerome Booth, head of research at Ashmore, declined to comment on specific geographical expansion plans. He said: “Our overall objective is underpinned on the need to grow and so far a lot of that has been organic in Brazil, Turkey and India. It’s a natural extension to build on further.”

Ashmore, which has traditionally raised most of its capital from US and European institutional investors, is attempting to raise money in emerging markets. Booth added: “We already manage money for central banks and sovereign wealth funds but eventually hope to manage funds for small investors in emerging markets.”

Ashmore has strong links with several sovereign wealth funds, with 15% of its assets under management coming from government institutions.

Booth said Asia sovereign funds, scarred by investing in western investment banks, were taking a fresh look at emerging markets.

Norway’s $370bn state pension fund, one of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds, earlier this year increased its exposure to Russia by two and a half times and hired Prosperity Capital to run a country mandate. Norges Bank, the wealth fund’s manager, also wants to raise the emerging market weighting in its benchmark portfolio to 10% from 5%.

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