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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Ashmore Dives Into Retail

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

Ashmore Investment Management [see profile] just entered the U.S. retail mutual fund business. A year ago the London-based emerging markets investment manager launched its first five U.S. mutual funds in institutional shares only [see MFWire.com, 12/16/2010], and today the firm added both A and C shares, unveiled a seventh U.S. fund and named Ted Smith as head of U.S. intermediary distribution.

Smith previously spent nine years at Delaware Investments. He now reports to Christoph Hofmann, global head of distribution, and is based in New York alongside three full-time institutional marketers and three support staff. Watch for Smith to build out the intermediary distribution force.

"We're in the process of engaging a search firm to begin looking for business development professionals who will work with financial advisors," Smith told MFWire.com.

Smith described his new job as "a tremendous opportunity," thanks to Ashmore's "global franchise" in emerging markets investing.

"I like the idea of taking an institutional franchise and institutional investing process to the general public," Smith said. "They seem to have an expertise, basically an investing engine, that works well in both markets [i.e. institutional and retail]."

The new fund is the Ashmore Emerging Markets Small Cap Equity Fund, sub-advised by Ashmore's own AshmoreEMM. It joins Ashmore's six existing U.S. funds, all of which will now offer A, C and I shares, all of which focus on emerging markets, Ashmore's specialty: the Corporate Debt Fund, the Equity Fund, the Local Currency Fund, the Local Currency Bond Fund, the Sovereign Debt Fund and the Total Return Fund.

"Ashmore is delighted to offer its investment products now also to U.S. retail investors at a time when they are actively seeking to diversify their portfolios, away from developed markets and the U.S. dollar," Hofmann stated.


Company Press Release

LONDON--Ashmore Investment Management Limited., one of the world’s largest specialist managers of Emerging Market debt and equity securities, today announced the launch of the Ashmore Emerging Markets Small Cap Equity Fund. The Fund is registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the “1940 Act” and invests in small-cap companies in Emerging Market countries globally.

Ashmore also announced that it has broadened access to its U.S. mutual funds to a wider range of investors through the introduction of retail share classes (A and C) which complement the previously launched institutional share classes.

All Ashmore funds invest exclusively in Emerging Markets. The Emerging Markets debt strategies offer Funds that include Total Return; Sovereign Debt; Local Currency Bond; Local Currency; and Corporate Debt. On the Equity side, the launch of the Ashmore Emerging Markets Small Cap Equity Fund compliments the existing Ashmore Emerging Market Equity Fund which focuses on larger-cap names. The U.S. mutual funds have been offered to institutional investors since December 2010. Together, these funds represent one of the most comprehensive offerings of Emerging Markets strategies in U.S. mutual fund market.

As part of the ongoing effort to complement the firm’s predominantly institutional business to increasingly also include private wealth clients, Ashmore recently appointed Ted Smith as Head of U.S. Intermediary Distribution, reporting directly to Christoph Hofmann, Ashmore’s Global Head of Distribution. Smith is based in Ashmore’s New York office and is responsible for establishing key relationships with financial intermediaries and for building a team to service financial advisors. He brings well over a decade of experience in partnering with U.S. intermediaries and has experienced the Emerging Markets first-hand, having lived and worked in Russia for four years. Ashmore plans to offer its funds through selected intermediaries, including broker/dealers, registered investment advisors (RIAs), banks, insurance companies and retirement platforms.

Commenting on the wider availability of Ashmore strategies in the U.S., Hofmann said: “Ashmore has successfully built a global institutional brand as one of the preeminent Emerging Market specialists. Approximately 87% of our assets under management are made up of institutional investors from across the globe, including central banks, sovereign wealth funds, public and corporate pensions and insurance companies. Ashmore is delighted to offer its investment products now also to U.S. retail investors at a time when they are actively seeking to diversify their portfolios, away from developed markets and the U.S. dollar. The new Ashmore Emerging Markets Small Cap Fund will be managed by AshmoreEMM, a member of the Ashmore Group and one of the world’s premier managers of Emerging Markets equity strategies.”

“The Ashmore Emerging Markets Small-Cap Fund is a unique portfolio of smaller companies in Emerging Markets that offer prime access to domestic growth stories—from China to frontiers markets,” said Felicia Morrow, CEO of AshmoreEMM. “In Emerging Markets, small cap securities have out-performed large caps in 7 of the past 10 years.1 Securities selected for the fund will consist primarily of companies with a market capitalization of up to $2 billion at the time of investment.”

Jerome Booth, Ashmore’s Head of Research, adds: “There is growing realization among investors that the disparity between Emerging Markets and Developed Country Markets has not only narrowed, but has turned upside-down. Our funds will allow a broad range of investors to have the potential to benefit from this investment opportunity: they can not only add returns, but potentially also reduce risk.”

There can be no guarantee that any strategy (risk management or otherwise) will be successful and that all investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal.

The Ashmore Emerging Markets funds now offered in the U.S.:

Ashmore Emerging Markets Corporate Debt Fund: The Fund seeks to maximize total return by investing in debt instruments of Corporate issuers denominated in “hard” (i.e. dollar, euro, etc) and local currencies. To our knowledge, this fund is the first dedicated Emerging Market Corporate bond fund in the U.S. Mutual Fund market.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Local Currency Fund: The Fund seeks to maximize total return by investing in instruments that provide investment exposure to local currencies of Emerging Market Countries. The Fund is designed to allow U.S. investors to diversify away from the U.S. dollar into EM currencies.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Local Currency Bond Fund: The Fund seeks to maximize total return by investing in debt instruments of Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign issuers of Emerging Market Countries that are denominated in the local currency of the issuer. The Fund seeks to meet its objective by investing in bonds and other instruments denominated in Emerging Market local currencies. The Fund is designed to allow U.S. investors to diversify away from the U.S. dollar into EM currencies.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Sovereign Debt Fund: The Fund seeks to maximize total return by investing in debt instruments of Sovereign and Quasi-Sovereign issuers of Emerging Market Countries that are denominated in any “hard” currency. The Fund currently expects to invest predominantly in bonds issued by Emerging Markets governments that are denominated in U.S. dollars.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Total Return Fund: The Fund seeks to maximize total return by investing in debt instruments of Sovereign, Quasi-Sovereign, and Corporate issuers, which may be denominated in any currency, including the local currency of the issuer. The Fund has the ability to invest in bonds denominated in “hard” currencies as well as EM local currencies.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Equity Fund: The Fund seeks long-term capital appreciation by investing principally in a portfolio of equity and equity related securities of companies traded in Emerging, including Frontier, Markets.

Ashmore Emerging Markets Small-Cap Equity Fund: Long-term capital appreciation through investments in equity and equity-related securities of small capitalization companies traded in Emerging Markets securities markets. Securities selected will consist primarily of companies with a market capitalization of up to US$2 billion at the time of investment.

Investment considerations: It is possible to lose money on an investment in the Fund. The Fund will be affected by the investment decisions, techniques and risk analyses of the Fund’s Investment Manager and there is no guarantee that the Fund will achieve its investment objective. The principal risks of investing in the Fund, which could adversely affect its net asset value, yield and total return are: Emerging Markets Risk: compared to foreign developed markets, investing in Emerging Markets may involve heightened volatility, greater political, regulatory, legal and economic uncertainties, less liquidity, dependence on particular commodities or international aid, high levels of inflation, greater custody risk, and certain special risks associated with smaller companies; Issuer Non-Diversification Risk: the Fund is “non-diversified” and is therefore more susceptible to the risks of focusing investments in a small number of issuers, industries or foreign currencies, and the risks of a single economic, political or regulatory occurrence, than funds that are “diversified”; Credit Risk: the Fund could lose money if the issuer or guarantor of a debt security or other instrument is unable or unwilling to meet its financial obligations, and the lack of ability, or perceived lack of ability, of the issuer to make timely payments of interest and/or principal will negatively affect the value of the security or instrument; Geographic Concentration Risk: The Fund may be particularly susceptible to economic, political or regulatory events affecting those countries or regions in which the Fund focuses its investments. For a full description of these and further risks, investors should refer to the fund’s latest Prospectus. The disclaimer and risk warning on the third page must be read in conjunction with the Prospectus before investing.

About Ashmore:

Ashmore is one of the world's leading investment managers dedicated to Emerging Markets. The business was founded in 1992 as part of the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group. In 1999, Ashmore became independent and today manages US$65.8 billion (June 30, 2011) in pooled funds, segregated accounts and structured products. Ashmore focuses on a number of Emerging Markets investment themes, including external debt, local currency, corporate debt, blended debt, equity, alternatives (special situations, infrastructure, real estate) Overlay / Liquidity, and multi-strategy products.

Ashmore Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: ASHM.L) and is a member of the FTSE 100 Index. The company is majority-owned by its employees.

Ashmore is headquartered in London, England and has offices in Australia, Brazil, China, Colombia, India, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Turkey, and the United States.

Ashmore Investment Management (US) Corp., a broker-dealer registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission, is the principal underwriter and distributor of the Funds’ shares.

Before investing you should carefully consider the Funds’ investment objectives, risks, charges, and expenses. This and other information is in the prospectus, a copy of which may be obtained from: Ashmore Investment Management (US) Corp, 122 East 42nd St, Suite 5005, New York, NY 10168, or by calling Northern Trust, the transfer agent, at 1-866-876-8294. Please read the prospectus carefully before you invest.

This press release should not be considered a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell shares of any investment in any jurisdiction where the offer or solicitation would be unlawful under the securities laws of such jurisdiction.

Ashmore Investment Management (US) Corp.

122 East 42nd St

Suite 5005

NY, NY 10168

Tel: +1-212-661-0061

Web address: www.ashmoregroup.com

1 MSCI EM vs. the MSCI EM Small-Cap index. 

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