Sean Simon, managing director of Ivy, said the firm has been expanding its operations globally for about four years, with a goal of "localizing" itself in both markets. It began gradually expanding in the U.K. by adding portfolio managers to cover European markets and hedge fund managers, then built distribution around the operations.
"You build the process first and the business will follow," said Mr. Simon, who added the firm is looking to add research staff in Tokyo. "You don't want to expand too quickly, you need to be able to digest your growth in a region."
Lazard Asset also has expanded its global reach.
Adding to its existing operations in New York, London and Frankfurt, the New York-based firm opened a Korean equities investment office in Seoul in mid-February to extend the firm's investment strategies further into the Asia-Pacific marketplace.
The firm also recently increased the size of its operations in Japan and Australia.
"We see tremendous potential for our business outside of the United States," said Ashish Bhutani, Lazard's chief executive officer.
He cited "a convergence of factors, including institutional reforms and changes in the investment landscape."
Mr. Bhutani said Lazard Asset's non-U.S. business has grown strongly over the past several years, particularly in Europe and the U.K. He added the firm will continue to look to expand in other parts of Asia.
In May, Lazard hired Tim Griffen as head of its Tokyo office and Matthew Bills as a portfolio manager and analyst there; both had been at Deutsche Asset Management, and are building a Lazard team dedicated to growing the Japanese business. They're also developing Japanese alternative investment strategies.
Overall, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for roughly $9 billion, or nearly 12%, of Lazard's $73 billion in overall assets under management. About half of its assets under management are non-U.S.
In the first quarter, Lazard Asset generated net revenues of $106.9 million, 60% of which came from its North American business, 32% from Europe and 8% from the rest of the world.
Executives for New York-based Bear Stearns Asset Management, which manages $32.5 billion, also said they expect a significant portion of their growth to come from international institutions.
Toward that end, the firm recently bought global equity consulting firm Heckman Global Advisors, acquired a 50% stake in Israeli investment firm Migdal Capital Markets and opened its first U.K. office in London last December.
Roughly 9% of BSAM's assets under management were from non-U.S. institutions as of Dec. 31.