[THE INVESTOR] Australian institutional asset manager IFM Investors announced on Nov. 30 it would open an office in Seoul to expand its client base in South Korea.
The Sydney-based company, which focuses on infrastructure equities and debts, will sell offshore long-term investment portfolios to institutional investors here.
The Seoul office will be run by its in-house analyst Glenn Morey, Client Relationship Director Lee Ki-jeong and senior external adviser Hur Kyung-wook.
The portfolios by IFM Investors will help institutional investors take higher returns from offshore investment amid the “low return environment” of the local market, which is facing demographic changes and geopolitical tensions, said Brett Himbury, chief executive of IFM Investors, at a press conference on Nov. 30.
“Investors want competitive risk-adjusted returns,” he said, calling Korean institutional investors “sophisticated.”
Globally, IFM Investors has 43 billion Australian dollars ($32.6 billion) in infrastructure equities, AU$32 billion in liabilities, AU$23 in listed equities and AU$2 billion in private equities under management.
“We believe in the power of scale,” Himbury said. “Combining the capital of aligned long-term institutional investment with the global reach of manager, we can bring the scale benefits not just to the institutions but to the end of the line in the beneficiaries.”
IFM Investors has invested in infrastructure assets in other member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, but has not invested in those in Korea. Its portfolios consist of five, seven and 10 years of maturity in debt instruments and equity products for at least 20 years of investments.
The opening of the office came in line with a joint venture with Korean firm Samsung Asset Management to manage a global infrastructure debt fund worth US$480 million in April. Himbury called the venture’s success the “right start” for its new office.
IFM Investors is owned by 28 pension funds and is the sixth-largest fund manager in Australia, the world’s fourth-largest pension fund market. The global fund manager has 262 institutional clients from 14 countries including Korea.
The operational, commercial and legal functions of the office will remain at the headquarters, like its other foreign offices in New York, London, Berlin, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
By Son Ji-hyoung/The Korea Herald (firstname.lastname@example.org)