International investment manager JP Morgan Asset Management (JPMAM) has opened an Australian office to more aggressively promote its global product suite to local institutional investors.

JPMAM has a presence in the Australian equities market through a joint venture established in 1999 with Melbourne fund manager JF Capital Partners (JFCP), and it has offered some of its global products purely to retail investors via 30 per cent-owned wealth management firm Ord Minnett. But it has not opened an Australian office until now as it was focused on building its bases in other Asian countries, such as China and India, to have more strength behind its investments in those markets, according to JPMAM’s head of institutional business Peter Horn. “It’s much better to have the strength in that market to be able to offer it here rather than be here without that,” Horn said. Horn believes emerging markets funds – whether country specific or a diversified portfolio – will be in demand here, as well as global infrastructure and alternatives, but he said JPMAM is likely to have a product to match any demand, given it boasts some 200 global products. The manager already has a few small institutional mandates, according to Horn, but he was not willing to put a figure on the total amount currently being managed. The decision to set up shop in Australia was not made lightly, but Horn said the expected growth in investment capital was a compelling story. “We know that funds growth is about 15 per cent per annum – that’s what the [Australian Bureau of Statistics] tells us – and there’s increasing share of the marginal dollar looking to go offshore. So in terms of funds invested globally, as the Australian market becomes more sophisticated, that growth must be closer to 18 or 20 per cent,” Horn said. JPMAM has 50 offices worldwide. It chose Melbourne as its base in Australia “because of the city’s status as a fast growing hub for fund management firms”. It is using JFCP’s office in its early days of business, but the JFCP investment process in Australian equities is “completely independent and that will continue”, Horn said. Horn originally hails from Melbourne, but has spent the last five and a half years working for the Commonwealth Bank of Australia in London as head of equities, Europe.

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