Asia's top asset service providers for the year, explained part 2

AsianInvestor explains the rationale of the judging panel's selection of the winners for this batch of asset management awards.
Asia's top asset service providers for the year, explained part 2

AsianInvestor’s industry-leading Asset Management Awards are widely tracked by asset managers and asset service providers with a presence in Asia Pacific.

While the awards process has evolved through the years, the awards remain laser-focused on picking the brightest and best stars in the region's asset management industry.

Our judging panel, comprising independent industry veterans and top executives from asset owners across the region, assessed all qualified entries and took the lead in providing valuable insights and guidance on shortlisting the best candidates.

The final entries were assessed by the editorial team to eventually decide on the ultimate winners.

Today, we explain the rationale behind the selection of some of the winners for the asset services awards.

AsianInvestor would like to take this opportunity to also say a big thank you to all the contestants. We were gratified to see the surge in entries this year – our highest since 2018.

We would like to extend our deep gratitude to all our judges for their efforts and assessments of the entries. Their insights were invaluable in deciding the final winners across categories.

Best Global Custodian for Mutual Funds: HSBC Securities Services

HSBC Securities Services registered strong growth through important new mandates in 2023, despite market challenges.

The results spoke for themselves.

In Asia, its revenue increased 20% year on year with assets under custody reaching $4733.6 billion and assets under administration of $777 billion to post year-on-year growth of 5.5% and 7.5% respectively.

“A very strong performance and presence with a solid focus on growth, improvement and innovation,” judges said of this comprehensive submission.

Significant new mandates included Milford Asset Management in Australia, Perennial Asset Management in Australia, Bank of Thailand, Transglobe Life Insurance in Taiwan and Samsung Securities Co. in South Korea to name just a few.

Judges were particularly taken by HSBC’s commitment to innovation and its ability to straddle both traditional and digital assets.

Its HSBC Orion proprietary tokenisation platform was notable for its ability to transform existing asset lifecycles, accelerate product innovation and reduce inefficiencies.

With plans to build on the HSBC Orion roadmap, the bank aims to make the digital assets platform asset-agnostic, meaning that it will be able to connect to external networks to plug into future ecosystems of enhanced asset origination, asset servicing capabilities and distribution.

HSBC announced in November that it plans to launch a new digital assets custody service for institutional clients who invest in tokenised securities.

Once live in 2024, this service will complement HSBC Orion to form a complete digital asset offering for HSBC’s institutional clients.

As of 2023, the bank has launched and participated in tokenised issuances across Hong Kong, Singapore and Luxembourg.

Best Index Provider, China onshore: Chinabond Pricing Center

ChinaBond Indices, launched by CBPC, is today the most widely used benchmarks in China, covering more than RMB140 trillion  ($19 trillion) in bond assets and providing index and index-based solutions to hundreds of clients globally.

At the end of 2023, there were 144 bond index funds with assets under management (AUM) of 510.64 billion yuan ($70 million) that tracked ChinaBond indices, holding 80% of the market share in quantity and 82% in AUM.

More than 87% of fixed-income mutual funds in the Chinese market use ChinaBond indices as performance benchmarks, accounting for AUM of 6.13 trillion yuan.

This vast footprint, coupled with its commitment to ongoing innovation, made it a clear winner in this category.

“CBPC stood head and shoulders above the others both in terms of improvement and innovation,” judges said.

With a surge in passive investment in China's bond market, ChinaBond Indices have been widely adopted by various investment products, including bond index funds, wealth management products (WMPs), and structured products.

In terms of innovation, CBPC has introduced regional bond indices reflecting China's strategic plans and launched themed indices to support major national strategies like science and technology innovation and rural revitalization.

They have also expanded their green and sustainable investment offerings.

In the overseas market, CBPC has collaborated with S&P Dow Jones to provide investment benchmark indices and expand its presence in various countries.

The revenue from indices and index-based businesses, meanwhile, has shown consistent growth, especially from foreign-funded institutions.

Best Index Provider, International: S&P Dow Jones Indices

S&P Dow Jones Indices in 2023 has continued to demonstrate a commitment to innovation, market responsiveness, and client value across asset classes and geographies and was the stand-out winner in this category.

“S&P Dow Jones Indices offers a broad range of new products to a broad range of clients,” judges noted.

“The submission showed a strong budget allocation for APAC clients, detailed descriptions on how it is forging industry best practices and good growth in exchange-traded products (ETPs).”

Ultimately, S&P launched more than 60 new Asia Pacific, emerging market, and new economy indices throughout 2023.

Highlights included the expansion of its Asian high yield bond market coverage, namely the launch of the S&P DJI and ChinaBond Pricing Center (CBPC) iBoxx ChinaBond Asian High Yield Index Family in May 2023.

The indices track and measure the performance of US dollar-, Chinese yuan- and Singaporean dollar-denominated high yield bonds from Asian bond issuers, allowing investors to access credit risk as the predominant risk factor in their Asian high yield strategies.

Pioneering work in thematic indices also caught the eye of judges.

“(We) combine cutting-edge quantitative techniques, access novel datasets and use leading analysts’ expertise to capture long-term, market-altering themes with precision,” S&P said in its submission.

The S&P Kensho New Economies, for instance, leverages machine learning techniques to build thematic indices with an emphasis on innovation.

Launched in September 2023, it measures the performance of companies developing, enabling and propelling the growth and functionality of artificial intelligence.

Best Legal Advisor:  Mayer Brown

With a focus on organising debut funds and new strategies, Mayer Brown has cemented its position as the region’s go-to legal advisor for many sponsors and strategic institutional investors.

“Mayer Brown has a well-established reputation and an enviable client list and boasts enviable testimonials,” judges said of this submission. “Overall, it’s a very well run and reputable law firm.”

The firm’s funds practice boasts a globally integrated team focused on institutional and strategic investors, including sovereign wealth funds, pension plans, and impact investors.

Advising some of the largest and most active investors, Mayer Brown handles investments across various asset strategies, including private equity, hedge funds, real estate, infrastructure, and more.

With extensive experience, the firm routinely reviews and negotiates hundreds of fund investments, while also assisting with direct investments, co-investments, joint ventures, and other complex transactions.

The firm also offers regulatory advice crucial for launching new funds, including assistance with licensing matters, regulatory change projects, and compliance with evolving regulations.

Mayer Brown acts as lead counsel throughout the lifecycle of a fund, providing advice on formation, compliance, restructuring, and winding-up.

Add to this deep industry connections (Mayer Brown's Pan-Asia Funds Practice is known for its extensive connections with active GPs and LPs, facilitating global collaboration on fund formations, investments, and restructuring) and judges had little hesitation in handing this award to the firm.

For part 1 of the asset service award winners, click here.

¬ Haymarket Media Limited. All rights reserved.