Aberdeen bolsters Asia fixed income

James Blair is leaving and Derek Fulton will come from London to give the regional team a global flavour.

Aberdeen Asset Management is transferring Derek Fulton, senior portfolio manager on the firm's London fixed income desk, to Singapore in order to strengthen the firm's Asian fixed income offering.

Fulton runs a global portfolio, and that won't change, he will be doing essentially the same job from Asia. But it is Aberdeen's hope that his global experience will rub off a bit on the local team.

Patrick Corfe, director of marketing in Singapore, says Asian fixed income remains a controversial asset class. Aberdeen believes it is a discrete asset class but many institutions view it as a fringe subset of emerging market debt. Moreover, most Asian institutions, although keen on global bonds, are not excited by regional mandates. Fulton's presence should help the firm market its global and regional capabilities to investors.

Says Aberdeen managing director Hugh Young: "While we are widely recognized here for our equity management, our bond expertise, being in a relatively young area, has necessarily had a limited audience. Derek's presence will help us to market bonds across a broader canvas."

Currently the bulk of its $1.3 billion investments in Asian fixed income is sourced from US-based closed-end funds. Over time the firm would like to raise assets from regional institutions, which Corfe says are slowly showing more interest in the idea.

Fulton's arrival, scheduled for July, coincides with the departure of James Blair, who has run Asian fixed income in Singapore. Blair is leaving for another fund house, although in a different capacity; his destination could not be determined. Blair will carry on at Aberdeen long enough to pass the baton to Fulton and won't be replaced.

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