Nikko Asset Management (Nikko AM) has appointed Aoifinn Devitt as Head of World Series Fund Platform to lead and manage the expansion of the company’s manager selection business from primarily Japan, to Europe and other parts of Asia.
The World Series Fund Platform channels funds packaged under the Nikko AM brand which are currently sub-advised by more than 40 managers worldwide – including PIMCO, Wellington, JP Morgan Asset Management, Ashmore, Blue Bay and Franklin Templeton – and distributed to institutional, retail and high net worth investors across Asia. The Nikko AM group’s broad distributor network now includes more than 300 Asian intermediaries.
The platform, which centres on research conducted out of New York and Sydney, currently has over USD29 billion of third-party manager products distributed across Japan, Australia and Singapore. These products are typically invested in specific geographic areas or industry sectors – including emerging markets, infrastructure and healthcare – and pursue non-traditional strategies such as alternative investments, emerging multi-asset funds, hedge funds and REITs.
Nikko AM is now expanding the World Series Fund Platform to increase the scope of providers covered by the programme, as well as extend distribution across new markets with a greater focus on non-Japan Asia. By partnering with external managers on a sub-advisory basis, Nikko AM intends to continue to broaden its product line-up and cater to investors’ evolving needs.
Devitt will be based in London and will manage the global third-party manager research and selection functions, while further developing Nikko AM’s “manager of manager” product line. She will unify and leverage Nikko AM's existing network of teams in New York, Tokyo and Sydney, and build out additional capabilities in Europe and other parts of Asia.
In addition to leading the World Series Fund Platform, Devitt is currently the appointed investment sub-adviser to the City Financial Asian Absolute Growth Fund, an Asian focused multi-manager fund with approximately USUSD60 million in assets under management, in which a number of prominent UK pension funds invest. It is City Financial's intention, concurrent with Devitt’s start and subject to the receipt of all regulatory approvals, to appoint Nikko AM as sub-advisor to the City Financial Asian Absolute Growth Fund. Under this arrangement, the fund will have access to the broader resources of the World Series Fund Platform® and Nikko AM’s extensive distribution capabilities.
Devitt has established a strong reputation in the global manager selection market, having previously worked at Cambridge Associates and Goldman Sachs.
Charlie Metcalfe (pictured), President of Nikko AM Europe, says: “As Asian specialists, when we don’t have the investment capability in-house, we may partner with external managers to provide interesting, best-in-class solutions, packaged under the well-recognised Nikko AM brand and distributed to investors via our intermediaries.
“Likewise, Nikko AM’s World Series Fund Platform has established itself as a unique channel for many of the world’s leading asset managers to tap into our extensive distribution network in Asia. Growing investor demand, coupled with Nikko AM's distribution arrangements and the barriers to entry for non-Asian managers, means that the World Series Fund Platform® has huge scope to develop further.
“Aside from the immediate Asian hedge fund of fund benefits, Aoifinn brings extraordinary experience, energy, intelligence and entrepreneurial skills to our business. She will develop the group’s existing capabilities, add new ones, and provide a common framework of analysis, process and operations across our offices.”
Devitt says: “This is an excellent opportunity to bring my experience, skills and relationships to bear within Nikko AM as it builds on the success of the World Series Fund Platform. We can tap in to the outstanding growth opportunities in Asia, where Nikko AM has established a clear presence and reputation as the world’s leading Asian asset management company. Additionally, what I currently deliver to UK institutional investors within the City Financial Asian Absolute Growth Fund will be materially enhanced by Nikko AM's reach.”