Fund Management

UK Trust Company Appoints Matthews Asia To Run APAC-Focused Portfolio

Chrissy Coleman Asia Correspondent 20 February 2013

UK Trust Company Appoints Matthews Asia To Run APAC-Focused Portfolio

Matthews Asia, the dedicated Asia investment specialist, has been appointed by Witan Investment Trust to manage its £110 million ($171 million) segregated portfolio focused on the Asia Pacific region (including Japan), effective today.

The UK trust company said its new mandate would be run in line with the Matthews Asia dividend strategy and represents roughly 9 per cent of the trust's portfolio. It will replace the Asia portfolio previously managed by Comgest (around 6.5 per cent of Witan's assets), whose remit excluded Japan, Witan said in a statement.

Andrew Bell, chief executive of Witan, said the appointment of Matthews Asia reflects his belief Asia's economies have become "increasingly interdependent", and is part of a wider plan to bring on board more specialised, high conviction managers at Witan.

“Although Witan has benefited from being substantially underweight in Japan in recent years this will not always be the case. We therefore believe having a manager with the ability to allocate capital actively on the basis of stock-specific factors across the entire region is preferable to predetermining allocations to Japan and Asia separately,” said Bell.

Big player

According to BNP Paribas, Witan is one of the largest multi-managed retail funds with assets of £1.1billion ($1.7 billion). The trust was established in 1909 to manage the estate of the first Lord Faringdon Alexander Henderson,.

Matthews Asia is an independent, privately owned firm based in San Francisco, and had $20.9 billion in assets under management as at 31 December 2012. The firm said it employs a fundamental, bottom-up investment process that seeks to identify companies with sustainable long-term growth prospects, strong business models, quality management teams and reasonable valuations.

It recently launched the Matthews China Dividend Fund, part of its Luxembourg-domiciled UCITS fund range, with the aim of opening opportunities for investors to tap into Chinese dividend-paying companies.

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