UCITS: Knocking on Asia's Doors !
Undertakings for Collective Investments in Transferable Securities (UCITS) are investment schemes that allow for free cross border sales of instruments with a single authorization from any one of the Euro-zone member states. They have become tremendously popular in Europe. Off late UCITS are gaining in popularity with international investors.Today, Asia has the lion's share of all internationally distributed UCITS. Hongkong, Singapore and Taiwan are emerging as hubs for the distribution of UCITS to the wider East, South East and Central Asia Region. Bahrain has become a pivotal center for UCITS distribution in West Asia and Africa.
Majority of investments finding their way into UCITS in Asia are routed into Equity (39%) , Money Market (23%) and Bond (20%) Funds. Most UCITS promoters I spoke to believe that though Asia will continue to be the biggest overseas geography for UCITS sales, challenges remain. These include - taxation issues, distribution complexity because of non-standard platforms , fragmented market and low automation levels. Will be interesting to see how distributors in Asia respond to this opportunity and how newer markets in Asia react to the UCITS offerings. Celent has just released a report on the subject: UCITS IV Directive: Implications for the Asset Management Industry in Europe.