AMP Capital Investors has made a bold statement about how it sees its listed equities being managed in the future, as has its new head of Asia Pacific Equities, Kerry Series.

Series wound up his boutique Asian long/short firm, DVA Capital, and handed the $25 million it had under management back to its sole client in order to take up the new role overseeing AMP Capital’s traditional active Aussie equities, New Zealand equities and Asian equities.

It is the Asian equities, though, that excites him and, he said, AMP Capital, in terms of how its investment capabilities and product offerings will be grown in the future. Series is looking to launch both an Asia ex-Japan fund and an Asia Pacific ex-Japan fund (which includes Australia and New Zealand), both for the institutional and retail markets. Series said: “We’re looking to have the appropriate product for the client segments … but my expectation is that we will see a greater allocation by investors to Asian equities over the next five years. Until two or three years ago there was a reticence about Asian equities.”

He said that AMP is making a big statement about the importance of Asia. The firm already has people or joint ventures based in Singapore, India, China and Japan. “When they came to talk to me [early this year] I was impressed with the commitment…The attractiveness of Asian equities is something I’ve believed in for a long time. Asian markets have finally capitalised on the region’s strong GDP growth.”

Series said the Asian crisis of 1997 was the catalyst for a fundamental change in the governance of Asian companies and subsequent behaviour of markets to better reflect earnings growth. Asian listed companies tend to have much lower debt now than 10 years ago, an attractive feature in the current global credit crisis. Having previously covered Asia from London, Series’ career as an Asian equities manager in Sydney started just prior to the crisis, with the Sydney-based boutique Pacific Road Funds Management, launched by Mike Crivelli.

The firm struggled through the crisis and was morphed into Perennial Investment Partners, backed by IOOF, and subsequently successfully diversified under a multi-affiliate model. Series left Perennial and moved to Hong Kong to manage Asian equities for HSBC, before returning in 2007 to launch DVA Capital as an Asian long/short fund. He will continue to have a hands-on approach managing money and being involved in stock research.