Russell Investments, the global investment company with regional head offices initially established in Sydney and Tokyo, has celebrated a decade of operations in Asia after setting up its first Asia ex-Japan office in Singapore in 1999.
Commenting on Russell's start in Asia, CEO of Russell in Asia, Bruce Pflaum said, "We have seen huge changes in the 10 years we have been operating in this part of the world. In those early days, pension planning was in its infancy, diversification was a fairly new concept and corporate governance was a rarely discussed subject. Our arrival in Asia was well-timed because, being at the tail-end of the Asian financial crisis; investors were wanting more disciplined investment models. Our multi-manager model offered a world class investment programme with a diversified portfolio of investments that could match risk tolerance with investment objectives."
Today, Russell Investments has retail and institutional clients in Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, Malaysia and China. In 2007 it set up a representative office in Korea and enhanced its regional capabilities by adding both Asian-based investment management research and real estate teams.
"The reason for Russell's growth in Asia is quite simple," said Pflaum. "With the increasing sophistication of investors in Asia there has been a much greater preparedness to use investment programmes and services that have been long popular in places like the US, Europe and Australia. Russell’s investment management experience, research capabilities and implementation services enables us to provide investment solutions to clients of all sizes throughout Asia."
Russell's regional services include investment consulting, investment management and implementation services such as transition management and currency implementation. In addition Russell offers a strategic mix of investment alternatives including real estate and private equity offerings through Pantheon Ventures a private equity firm which Russell acquired in 2004 and which has a regional office in Hong Kong.
Pflaum added that Russell's index business provides a good example of how products and services that have been widely used globally for many years are now becoming highly sought after in Asia. "Russell has been providing industry leading indexes and benchmarks in the U.S. for 25 years and has more recently expanded our coverage to include all the global markets. Russell’s global index represents 98% of the global equity market with approximately 10,000 stocks in 63 countries. We are now seeing great interest in our indexes from institutional investors in Asia, particularly in China, which has resulted in the need to establish regional index capabilities here," he explained.
To leverage the firm's global resources and to enhance its ability to deliver innovative intellectual capital and investment products to clients anywhere in the world, Russell recently announced the creation of five new global service lines: Consulting and Advisory services, DB/DC Outsourcing, OpenWorld, Retail and Russell Investment Services (RIS). The new service lines will complement existing global offerings including multi-manager, Pantheon and Indexes.
Pflaum said the new service lines will be valuable in servicing investors in Asia because "our Asian clients are now demanding access to Russell’s full global capabilities and our new service lines will be responsible for delivering the very best of Russell worldwide, to any client, wherever they are located."
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