Old Mutual Global Investors
Issues about liquidity and transparency have been daunting to Asia’s high net worth investors considering alternative strategies in the post-crisis climate. But through financial innovation, the asset management industry has managed to offer these issues in a more digestible form. Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI), formerly Skandia International, knows a few things about repackaging.“When I joined in 2013-end, despite the solid track record of our various funds, nobody knew who we were,” recalls Carol Wong, the Asia head of distribution of the now rebranded Old Mutual Global Investors (OMGI). “Then, rather than entering the retail space, we wanted to focus on the private banking channel where we felt our brand name was better recognised.”
Now in 2015, OMGI has built a shop with a client-centric infrastructure to support performing products. From conference calls, online radio (OMGI Radio) to live webcasts where viewers can interact with fund managers, the Anglo-South African asset manager has created a shop not just for investors of a fund but clients of an asset manager. Wong says there was a time when she invited a manager from London but felt uneasy that he made the flight only to meet only one gatekeeper.
“Although I felt bad, he didn’t show any sign of being unwilling,” Wong recalls. “This is reflective of all our managers who are very customer-oriented and client-friendly. This culture is in the DNA of OMGI.”
OMGI has spotted the trend of liquid alternatives as HNWIs in the region increasingly demand hedge fund-type strategies with superior liquidity. According to Wong, private banks were looking for a low volatility, all-weather strategy with enhanced liquidity and transparency, and OMGI was able to respond to market demand and deliver. The success of the rollout has lead OMGI to add an additional alternative through an unconstrained absolute return fixed-income strategy. It is set to reach the market later this year.
In a universe of proliferated by products, OMGI’s commitment to the private banking channel and delivery of best-in-breed products and services, gatekeepers have commended the accomplishments and voted the firm as the Best Fund Provider – Liquid Alternative this year.