Principal Global Investors is adding investment staffers to help manage a growing business in the Asia-Pacific region.
Principal Global saw assets under management for Asia-Pacific-based clients jump 40% in 2013 to $23.5 billion, lifting the region's share of the U.S.-based money management firm's business to 7.6% from 6% the year before, said Andrea Muller, PGI's Singapore-based CEO, Asia, in a recent interview.
With last year's solid demand for real estate — and real estate investment trusts — poised to continue this year, PGI is moving to deepen its bench in Singapore, Ms. Muller said.
Eileen Goh joined the firm's global REIT team April 1 as its second Singapore-based analyst, following the January hirings of portfolio managers Shern-Ling Koh and Julian Mittag. Ms. Goh had been a research analyst at Singapore-based brokerage house AM Fraser
PGI also will add an experienced sales person for South Korea, where demand from institutional investors for a range of alternative strategies continues to grow, Ms. Muller said.
The company also is gearing up to expand its business with offshore investors looking to allocate more assets to China, while also positioning itself to serve Chinese institutional investors now considering overseas allocations.
PGI — which garnered an initial quota of $150 million in August 2012 to manage investments in China's domestic capital markets under the qualified foreign institutional investor program — is seeking an additional $150 million quota, said Ms. Muller.
The company is also considering applying for a separate quota to invest overseas money in China under the renminbi QFII program launched at the end of 2011, she said.
Meanwhile, Ms. Muller said Principal Global's efforts to build relationships with insurance companies in China, which won regulatory approval in late 2012 to begin allocating money overseas, could bear fruit in 2014. After a year or more of studying their options, some insurers may begin taking advantage of that opportunity this year, she predicted.
The firm's AUM total for Asia-Pacific clients at the end of 2013 doesn't include key money management joint ventures in the region, such as CCB Principal Asset Management Co. Ltd., a Beijing-based venture between parent Principal Financial Group and China Construction Bank with $16.3 billion in assets at the end of 2013; and CIMB-Principal Asset Management Berhad, a joint venture between Principal Financial and CIMB Group Berhad, with more than $2 billion in AUM.