Wednesday 17 Apr 2024
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KUALA LUMPUR (March 6): Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd was the biggest group awards winner and Public Mutual Bhd was the biggest individual awards winner at the LSEG Lipper Fund Awards 2024 on Wednesday.

Manulife took home three group awards, alongside eight individual awards, while Public Mutual won 21 individual awards. Other big winners included KAF Investment Funds Bhd, which won a group award and 10 individual awards, and Maybank Asset Management Sdn Bhd, which grabbed a group award and 7 individual awards.

A total of 96 awards were given to 18 fund management companies at the awards ceremony held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel here.

2023 was another challenging year for fund managers. Still, despite all the uncertainties, fund managers were able to cut through the noise and turn in a good performance, said Anna Taing, managing editor of The Edge Malaysia, in her opening speech.

“They might not necessarily have made the right calls all the time, but the key was in delivering consistent and positive returns to their clients,” said Taing. The Edge Malaysia is the official presenter of the LSEG Lipper Fund Awards 2024 in Malaysia.

A new award category was added to the list this year, which is the best equity sector real estate Asia Pacific fund award. Taing expressed that it is encouraging to see that a broader variety of investment products is being offered to the markets.

She added that the key developments that will define 2024 would be rising geopolitical tensions, expectations of higher interest rates as inflation continues to stay elevated and technology disruption. 

“Additionally, sustainability and ESG will increasingly be an important factor to consider for all fund managers moving forward. Let us hope that 2024 turns out to be a better and more exciting year for all of us here today,” she said.

US dollar money market received the largest net inflows in 2023

Xav Feng, LSEG Lipper Asia Pacific Head of Research, said 2023 turned out to be a better year than 2022, as global equity markets provided investors with significant returns on the back of the booming artificial intelligence (AI) trend and cooling inflation globally.  

He said the global fund industry had enjoyed net inflows of US$1,236 billion, which was a significant turnaround compared to 2022 with net outflows of more than US$2,500 billion.

Interestingly, most investors’ money went into money market USD last year (US$1,015 billion), which was among the safest of all asset classes. That was followed by bond USD medium term (US$130 billion), money market EUR (US$113 billion), money market CNY (US$86 billion) and bond USD government (US$82 billion).

According to Feng, funds that experienced the largest net outflows last year were bond USD short term, money market GBP, equity US small and mid-cap, equity US income and mixed asset BRL flexible.  

How about the Malaysian market? Feng pointed out that real estate received the highest inflows of US$344.4 million. That was followed by equity (US$182.01 million), bonds (US$180.07 billion), money market (US$23.52 million) and others (US$17.1 million).

Alternative asset classes in Malaysia experienced the highest net outflow of US$35.31 million, followed by commodity (US$7.54 million) and mixed assets (US$7.46 million).

“For Malaysia, after a huge US$3 billion net outflow in 2022, there was a total of nearly US$700 million net inflow into Malaysia in 2023,” said Feng. 

As for the winners, Gan Kong Yik, senior director and head of equity of Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd, is proud that the firm emerged as one of the biggest winners at the awards.  

“As you know, 2023 was a very challenging and volatile year. How we try to do better than the rest is that we have to be more reactive and, at the same time, always try to take the market condition and readjust our portfolio to suit the market condition.”

Public Mutual Bhd won the greatest number of individual awards. Its CEO Chiang Kang Pey attributed the achievement to team effort.

“We have a very strong team who has enabled us to continue to perform over the years. Of course, the direction from the board of directors is very important, as well as the support from the unit holders, investors and unit trust consultants,” he said.

A total of seven group and 89 individual awards were given out during the ceremony.

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