Asia edges closer to creating Ucits rival

Asia_business_friendlyThe possibility of Asia creating a cross-border fund structure to rival Europe’s Ucits products has moved forward in recent months with concerns that Europe’s offering is less suited to the needs of Asian investors.

With more than 30% of all Ucits sales taking place outside Europe, paying attention to the demand of Asia’s need will be crucial.

In a recent interview with Funds Global (a sister publication to Funds Europe) Sally Wong, the chief executive officer at the Hong Kong Investment Fund Association, said the perception was that Ucits is Europe-centric and Europe’s interests and concerns would always come first.

Wong said while this was “fully understandable”, in recent months there have been more discussions as to whether Asia needs to develop something “that can better reflect the needs, profiles and characteristics of the Asian investor base”.

This would give Asian investors greater ownership of the process, she added.

“When we talk about our members, we get the impression that there is a need to develop something Asian,” said Wong.

“We are now revisiting the idea of Asian Ucits or an Asian passport. At this stage there are only discussions, no concrete plans, but Europe should pay attention to this.”

The region is made up of 48 different countries, many of which are keen to emulate (see Funds Global Asia report) the Ucits brand.

In recent years there have been tensions between Asia and Europe, most notably over sophisticated Ucits. The eurozone crisis has also shaken many Asian investors’ confidence in Europe.

Claude Kremer, president at the European Fund and Asset Management Association (Efama), is planning to visit Asia next month to meet with local regulators as well as fund and asset management associations.

“Efama plans to map out a timeline for regulatory changes to ensure the Asian fund industry is well prepared for each development,” he said. “We need to make the brand relevant to the Asian market as it is one of the main areas of growth.” (View full interview)

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