Nuveen is expanding its sales and client service footprint in the Asia-Pacific region to accelerate the recent growth of its business serving local institutional investors, said Simon England-Brammer, the firm's Hong Kong-based senior managing director and head of Asia Pacific.
The effort is part of the longer-term story of Nuveen's transformation from a U.S.-centric manager to a global player, he said in an Aug. 4 interview.
The firm just secured its Hong Kong licenses and will move next to expand in Japan, said Mr. England-Brammer, who left an institutional sales role with Invesco (IVZ) a year ago to lead the build out of Nuveen's team in the region.
Nuveen will look to appoint a managing director-level executive in "the near term" for its Tokyo effort, he said.
Already, the firm has sales and client service executives in the Hong Kong office to cover South Korea and Greater China, as well as one covering Southeast Asia from affiliate TH Real Estate's office in Singapore and another for Australia, based in the Sydney office Nuveen opened two years ago.
The more than $10 billion in assets managed now on behalf of Asia-Pacific clients, while a small fraction of New York-based Nuveen's roughly $940 billion in assets under management, is up from $6 billion a year ago, said Mr. England-Brammer.
Nuveen is looking to build a diversified business in the region, with no single geography, client group or product set — whether in private or public markets — dominating, he said.
He noted that some of the firm's best known capabilities have gained traction in the region over the past year or two.
One example is Nuveen's U.S. municipal bond business, which Mr. England-Brammer called "a very prominent area" for Asian investors now. That market segment accounts for between 20% and 25% of Nuveen's $10 billion in Asia-Pacific AUM, with the firm picking up the bulk of those mandates over the past 12 to 18 months, he said.
On the private markets side, Mr. England-Brammer said Nuveen's close ties with "first tier" investors in the region — including sovereign wealth funds, central banks and insurance companies — have allowed the firm to pursue large-scale club deals in asset classes such as real estate and infrastructure.
On the more traditional side, he said an area Nuveen will be looking to build a presence in is the intermediary space, in tandem with global financial institutions.