Manulife Investment Management and Seoul-based Samsung Asset Management have agreed to cooperate on a range of areas in South Korea, including private asset opportunities and ESG strategies.
The two firms said Friday they had signed a memorandum of understanding.
A Hong Kong-based spokesman for Manulife said the agreement provides a comprehensive framework for the two companies to do a "deep dive and explore further service arrangements or collaborations in areas such as advisory and management services, or distribution of financial products in Korea."
The agreement paves the way for Samsung Asset Management, with 290 trillion won ($256.5 billion) in assets under management, to participate in Manulife's private asset strategies, initially as a limited partner in Manulife's second infrastructure fund, with co-investment opportunities. There are also plans to expand cooperation to areas such as private debt and credit, said a spokesman for Samsung.
Samsung, having just set up an ESG team in January, is looking forward to learning from Manulife's experience in that fast-growing sector, the spokesman said.
Shim Jong-Geuk, CEO of Samsung Asset Management, in a news release said: "We especially look forward to cooperating in private assets including infrastructure investments as well as ESG, both of which are high priorities for us."
Michael Dommermuth, Manulife's Hong Kong-based head of wealth and asset management, Asia, in the same news release said his firm's institutional sales team "has been making strides in developing the partnership model, engaging clients in discussions as a provider of solutions across public and private asset classes." He welcomed Samsung as "a key member of our group of partners in the region."
The Manulife spokesman declined to provide details about the size of the firm's business in South Korea. As of Dec. 31, Manulife Investment Management had $758 billion in assets under management and administration.