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New global equity team to help Nikko Asset Management become Asia’s premier global asset manager

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“We are focused on global equity because that tends to be the first thing Asian investors consider when diversifying away from domestic equity,” explains Yu-Ming Wang (pictured), global head of investment at Nikko Asset Management.

This week in London, Nikko AM introduced a new team of six portfolio managers led by Will Low who previously managed the high-alpha equity team at Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP). The team will continue to operate out of Edinburgh. 
“Our footprint is very much Asia-based. Investors there are looking to diversify outside of their domestic markets whether they be Japan, China, Singapore. That explains why this global equity team fits with our distribution strategy so well. Global equity right now is top of our list,” adds Wang.
"We are delighted that Nikko Asset Management will be the new home for our team. We clearly share a vision for making global equities a key source of growth for the overall firm," commented Low. "We've been impressed with Nikko Asset Management's commitment to providing world-class investment products to clients, and this arrangement allows us to do what we do best, which is concentrate on well-researched, high-conviction ideas to deliver alpha in global equity strategies for our clients."
Nikko AM began to put the wheels in motion to bring Will and his team on board when Aberdeen Asset Management acquired SWIP from Lloyds Banking Group last November in a GBP650mn deal. As part of a mutually agreed separation Low’s team was able to preserve its intellectual property (models, track record etc). It was at this point that Nikko AM began its due diligence and as Wang says, “the agreement came together very quickly because the fit from a philosophical and business standpoint is impeccable. We are basically importing over their existing three years’ worth of track record trading global equity.”
Low joined Scottish Widows Investment Partnership in 2011. The global equity team he built includes: Stephen Corr, James Kinghorn, Greig Bryson, Iain Fulton and Johnny Russell.
Wang says that the team will be funded shortly from one of the firm’s existing institutional mandates, which has several hundred million dollars in assets.
“We are contemplating both institutional as well as retail products that fit their investment style in all of Nikko Asset Management’s locations: Japan, Singapore, Australia, as well as the UK. So the team is hitting the ground running. These will be long-only actively managed benchmark agnostic strategies characterized by their high stock conviction,” Wang tells Hedgeweek.
For Nikko AM, it is a case of making sure that the investment product, the business proposition and the investment style are all in synch. “We are confident we have that with the acquisition of this new team,” adds Wang.
The global equity team is just the latest in a series of expansions that Nikko AM have engineered over the last 12 months. In October 2013, the firm acquired a specialist Asian equity team from Sydney-based Treasury Asia Asset Management. This March, it further strengthened its offering by building a multi asset team in Singapore headed up by Al Clarke, formerly of Schroder Investment Management (Singapore).
“I think our existing investment teams will benefit from (as well as contribute to) the insights that Will and the rest have on global equity now that they have joined our platform. There will be a lot of close collaboration across our teams (which total 200 people),” says Wang, adding:
“The global equity team has high conviction in its trades. They have a lot of ideas to generate diversified sources of returns. Will is style agnostic but most importantly he is a great leader. He plays mentor to the other team members and that has been very impressive to see.”
So what does this latest addition to the Nikko AM family mean for the firm going forward? How does this fit in to the firm’s overall business strategy? Wang wastes no time hesitating in his response:
“Our aspiration is to be Asia’s premier global investment manager. We are Asia-based, we have an enviable reach in terms of distribution but our emphasis is to bring a global investment mindset and capability to the market.”  

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