Exclusive: Aegon Asset Management to cease operations in Hong Kong and close its office in Japan by the end of the year | Fund managers

Aegon Asset Management has ceased its distribution activities in Asia outside of mainland China, as it focuses its resources on Europe and the United States.

The asset management arm of Aegon Group has ended its operations in Hong Kong and plans to wind down operations in Japan by the end of the year, people familiar with the matter said. Asian investor. A spokesperson has since clarified that both offices closed their distribution business on Wednesday August 31, but the Hong Kong entity will remain active to support its mainland China business.

On the Securities and Future Commission’s (SFC) online register of institutions, Aegon AM said it had “ceased the business of regulated activities”.

The company has removed Hong Kong and Japan from its list of locations on its website, although its August 2022 fact sheet continues to list both markets.

In the Hong Kong office, one employee will be retained while another has moved to London. Two others will leave the company. In Japan, two employees are no longer with the company, the spokesperson said without specifying whether there were others who had transferred to other sites.

Emails to Mabel Cho, the former regional manager, bounced back and a call on her office line was answered by Hong Kong manager Winfred Tsang, who declined to comment.

A source said Cho left the company and was moving overseas. Her SFC accreditation as an authorized representative to her principal is no longer active.

The spokesperson confirmed that Cho left the company earlier in the year before the decision to shut down the distribution business was made.

Client assets will continue to be managed by Aegon AM’s investment teams in Europe and the United States, and certain client services will be transferred to European-based teams.

Aegon Asset Management has been in Hong Kong since 2012. Aegon Group, headquartered in The Hague in the Netherlands, has 315 billion euros ($313.73 billion) in assets under management.

The group recorded a net loss of 348 million euros in the second quarter of the year. The company’s asset management arm saw a 55% drop in profits in the second quarter from a year earlier.

In its “Strategic Highlights” section of the quarterly report, Aegon said it would focus on three core markets (US, Netherlands and UK), three growth markets (Spain and Portugal, Brazil and China ) and a global asset manager.

Asian investor understands that Aegon Asset Management will retain operations in Shanghai, making it the only remaining Asian location.

Aegon Asset Management has advanced its business in China in recent years, having entered the market in 2008 through a joint venture. Last September, it received approval for its Shanghai-based unit to become a Qualified Domestic Limited Partner (QDLP) manager, enabling it to provide its products to Chinese institutions and high-net-worth investors.

“Their joint venture in China is doing extremely well,” a source said. Asian investor. “The nature of what they’re doing makes a lot of sense.”

“The joint ventures of asset management companies in China have made huge profits over the past five years. They make annual profits even with their minority stakes, sometimes 2-3 times the total capital they invested to start their joint venture 10 years ago,” the person said.

The insurance business in China is held through a joint venture called Aegon THTF Life Insurance, while Aegon AM owns 49% of Shanghai-based Aegon-Industrial Fund Management Company (AIFMC).

The move is the result of a “strategic review” of the company, the Aegon AM spokesperson said. “By ceasing distribution in the wider Asian market, it will free up resources to invest in its core markets in Europe and the United States, while expanding its fund offering through the WFOE (all foreign-owned enterprise) and strengthening its cooperation with the AIFMC in China,” he said.

Transamerica Life Bermuda (TLB), Aegon’s insurance business in Hong Kong, is unlikely to be affected by the closures, a TLB spokesperson told AsianInvestor. TLB’s investment portfolios are primarily managed by Aegon Asset Management (US), which is unrelated to the company’s Asian operations, she said.

“TLB remains open for business and through our full-service branches in Hong Kong, Singapore and Bermuda, we will continue to provide the highest level of service to our partners and high net worth clients in Asia and beyond.” she adds.

This article has been updated with comments from Aegon AM and TLB spokespersons.

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