Asset Management Marquee Awards 2022 part 1, explained
Since its launch a decade ago, the AsianInvestor Asset Management Awards have become an industry leader, sought after by the largest asset managers with a presence in Asia Pacific.
The awards have evolved through the years. While they used to be selected solely by the editorial team, we now tap the knowledge and expertise of a judging panel comprising independent industry veterans and top executives from asset owners across the region to bring greater weight to our awards procedure.
We have also developed more specific criteria with a points system to guide entries and allow for a more structured and transparent process.
Today we reveal the rationale behind the judges' selection of marquee winners for best passive fund manager, best private debt manager, best private equity manager, and best real estate manager, which we had announced in April.
The criteria for this category included business growth in 2021 particularly with institutional clients; sophistication evolution such as new markets, products or mandates; and key innovations in areas such as services and technology. As with all our awards, client testimonials and case studies were given some weight in the decision process as well.
Tomorrow, we reveal the rationale for the second part of our marquee awards. Congratulations again to all winners.
Best Passive Fund Manager (Asia-focused)
China Asset Management Co., Ltd
Described by judges as “quite strong in every category for a leading manager in China”, China Asset Management’s equity ETF AUM accounted for 22% of the China Mainland equity ETF market, ranking it No.1 among its peers.
Not a bad result for just 17 years in the market. As you’d expect, this was a submission of superlatives.
At the end of 2021, ChinaAMC managed 115 passive funds with AUM of $54 billion. The AUM of passive funds rose by 55% or $19 billion from October 1 2020 to the end of 2021.
In terms of diversified products, ChinaAMC launched 50 passive funds including 38 ETFs and 12 ETF feeder funds from October 1 2020 to end of 2021. As you might expect from a pioneer of the China ETF story, three out of the 10 largest equity ETFs in mainland China are managed by ChinaAMC.
In terms of key innovations, it launched ChinaAMC Hang Seng Internet ETF in January, providing investors with the first domestic ETF focused on internet companies on Hong Kong markets.
As of December 31, that fund’s AUM was $2.95 billion, ranking it No.1 among all China Mainland Internet ETFs. Meanwhile, the flagship ETF, SSE 50 ETF, had an AUM of $10.84 billion at end of December, ranking it No.1 among all mainland China’s equity ETFs.
Best Private Debt Manager (Asia Pacific-headquartered)
Ares SSG, Hong Kong
Business growth was impressive at Ares SSG as the firm continued to expand the Asia Pacific region with a particular focus in 2021 on Australia and New Zealand.
With a pan-Asian presence, Ares SSG is one of the largest alternative asset managers in Asia-Pacific with approximately US$8.9 billion in assets, increasing from $7.0 billion in Dec 2020.
In launching its first Australia and New Zealand dedicated Direct Lending Fund in 2021 - the first sponsor-dedicated Direct Lending Fund in the Asia Pacific region – it is expected to hold a close in H1 2022 and will focus on providing senior secured Unitranche loans to private equity sponsors.
Ares also executed the first deal in this strategy, signing a deal in Q4 2021 which ultimately closed in January 2022 committing A$280 million in credit facilities to Waste Services Group, a specialised operator of waste management services in Australia.
The financing will support Livingbridge, a leading mid-market private equity group with investments across the UK, US and Australia, with its acquisition of Waste Services Group.
The transaction marks the first financing led by Ares’ Australian Direct Lending team and is also the first private credit-backed sustainability linked financing on the Australian market.
The new credit facilities include a sustainability linked margin ratchet, whereby the interest rate payable is directly correlated to the company achieving certain pre-determined performance targets
Overall, Ares SSG Funds – with more than 70 employees and over 120 direct institutional investors - raised around US$1.4 billion in 2021.
Best Private Equity Manager (Asia Pacific-headquartered)
China Merchants Capital, China
Dubbed ‘the largest PE firm you’ve never heard of’, CMC is a huge operation.
At the end of 2021, its asset under management (AUM) reached RMB 307.6 billion ($45 billion), a year-on-year increase of 7.13%. By any standards, it has had a great 2021 and this was recognised by our judges.
Revenues were RMB3.3 billion, up 109% from 2020. Profits hit RMB1.3 billion, up 120%.
In 2021, it launched 20 funds and fund-related products for its institutional clients.
Some of these products, which are special opportunity funds, capitalised on unique market opportunities, such as JD logistics’ IPO at the HKSE and Wanda Property Management’s Pre- IPO financing round, all within a short time window.
Its ability to seize fast-moving market opportunities and execute on deals is a reason why it is so sought-after by institutional clients.
Internally it employs a “team-of-teams” framework that incentivises investment teams to improve the quality of their deals.
Investment professionals across different deal teams contribute ideas, know-how, network resources to facilitate deals, and the work performed by each participant is rewarded based on the value created.
“This framework created a lot of synergy for the teams involved, and our overall business grew as a result,” the company said in its submission.
Best Real Estate Manager (Asia Pacific-headquartered)
GLP, Hong Kong
It was an active and profitable year for GLP – the global investment manager and business builder in logistics, real estate, infrastructure and private equity – and one which did not escape the attention of judges.
Currently, with more than $120 billion in global assets under management (AUM), the fund had its most active year in terms of fundraising, leasing and development activity.
GLP amassed $13.6 billion of equity capital, established six new funds across diverse geographies and strategies and welcomed 19 new institutional investors.
GLP’s global logistics business is one of the largest in the world spanning 75 million square meters. It continued to demonstrate strong portfolio dynamics, signing lease agreements for 24.3 million sqm of space across its global portfolio.
GLP also completed 4.7 million sqm of new properties and commenced over $7.9 billion of new developments, an increase of 50% year-on-year.
We continued to make great strides in our data centre and renewables strategies while furthering our commitment to sustainability, an initiative which again did not escape the attention of our judging panel.
In 2021, GLP became a signatory to the United Nations-supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) in addition to expanding our global ESG policy and launching an enhanced ESG due diligence process.
It also continued to replace fossil fuel energy with solar power, with approximately 191 megawatts (MW) added to the grid in 2021, representing an 85% growth of existing capacity. Globally, GLP has 4.4 million sqm of rooftop solar panels producing in excess of 415 MW of solar energy or equivalent to the annual consumption of more than 55,000 households.