(Pictured: Paul Khoury)
A surprisingly high proportion of Australian fund managers believe that the next 12 months presents an increased opportunity to make acquisitions and a good part of this is being driven by offshore aspirations, according to a global survey by State Street.
The State Street survey of 300 senior executives of asset management firms, 30 of whom were based in Australia, indicated 77 per cent of the Australians saw increased M&A activity, compared with 57 per cent in the US. The Japanese, also surprisingly, were the most expansive, with 90 per cent seeing increased activity.
The survey, conducted on behalf of State Street by FT Remark, showed that half the Australian-based managers said they planned to expand their businesses to new countries or regions over the next three years, although almost two thirds agreed that distribution challenges deterred them from investing more in otherwise highly attractive markets.
Paul Khoury, the former chief operating officer for State Street’s securities services business in Australia, who is now head of ‘asset manager sector solutions’ Asia Pacific, said the Australian market was “ripe for growth”. He said asset managers were taking that positive outlook into account when planning, budgeting and developing new products. “It’s definitely a positive and buoyant market,” he said.
Under a recent realignment of senior management in the region, State Street identified five key sectors within which to focus their attention on clients and potential clients, rather than focusing from a products and services point of view. The sectors are: asset managers, asset owners, alternatives, official institutions (such as sovereign wealth funds) and insurance. They represent all State Street services except the fund manager, SSgA.
Khoury will continue to be based in Sydney for the regional role. Chris Taylor, the new head of Global Services and Global Markets in Australia, previously oversaw the five sectors for the region from Hong Kong. That role has not yet been filled. He replaced Ian Martin, who is now head of Global Exchange and Global Markets for the region, based in Hong Kong.
The manager survey also showed Australia as a standout in the managers’ belief in the trend to increased demand for multi-asset strategies. A total of 87 per cent of Australian-based managers believed multi-asset solutions would be the biggest driver of growth over the next three years, compared with 67 per cent globally.