Within Asia, most of its investments are in infrastructure, but the firm is relatively agnostic about the asset classes and markets that it plans to expand to.
The developed economies are easier to work with because AIMCo is familiar with them and they have good market structures in place, but there are opportunities in other countries in the region too, said Kevin Bong, senior managing director, chief investment strategist and head of Singapore, in an interview.
For instance, within emerging markets, there is potential in Southeast Asia, which has been affected by China Plus One strategies — where companies diversify their manufacturing hubs beyond China — in a positive way, he said. The firm is open to all asset classes but has spotted opportunity particularly in the private markets.
"We have private equity partners who look into the (Southeast Asian) region quite a bit as well … That's probably where we would start — through partners, possibly through private markets, funds, co-investments. Individual deals — we hope to do a lot more of that over time. But again, we need people here first to build the network," Bong said.
Market access to emerging markets is a challenge, and the firm is working on finding the right partners to help them, he said.
"Part of the whole reason why we have the office here and hopefully have more of our teams spend time here … is to get to know these markets a lot better," he added.
The firm has also been working on "some interesting infrastructure-related opportunities in India and some innovative approaches" but it has taken time and requires patience to build relationships in the country, said Chief Investment Officer Marlene Puffer during the same interview.
"There's a lot of developing regulatory environment that's evolving, and so we need to tread carefully to make sure that legal structures and all the complexities as various aspects of infrastructure are evolving," she explained.
"When you're looking at long-term assets, and you want to make sure that your returns are going to be commensurate with the risk profile. You need to be diligent in making sure the risk profile is as managed as possible," she added.
The firm has a small exposure to Indian equities that are commensurate with passive exposures, she said. "We haven't done a whole lot in terms of active fundamentals there yet, but it's on the radar."