DBS manager to set up own bond fund

Lim Heong-Chye, manager of Singapore''s largest mutual fund, is leaving DBS Asset Management.

DBS Asset Management is losing a star fund manager. Lim Heong-Chye, managing director, will leave the firm in mid-August, along with portfolio managers Chan Cheh-Shin and Lucas Yeoh. Sources believe he intends to set up his own fixed-income asset management company.

Lim is best known in Singapore for managing the Shenton Income Fund, taking its assets under management from around S$100 million ($59.23 million) upon joining the firm in 2001 to S$1.2 billion today, making it the largest home-grown open-ended mutual fund in the Lion City.

It has also consistently outperformed its peers in that timeframe. Four years ago, some 70% of the fund's holdings were in Singapore, making it the big fish in a small pond, but since then Lim oversaw an upgrading of best practices and helped transform DBS-AM into a more regional player. The Shenton Income Fund is now diversified across global fixed income.

Earlier this year, DBS-AM was awarded the mandate for the Singapore-dollar tranche of the Asian Bond Fund-2, and will be launching an exchange-traded fund on the back of that. The firm also won a S$1.3 billion mandate from insurer Aviva, which is outsourcing all of its assets.

Lim is expected to continue in the traditional global bond space when he eventually hangs his own shingle after a period of gardening leave. Lim declined to comment, as he remains a DBS Asset Management executive for another four weeks.

Lau Wing-Tat, Lim's co-head of investment management, will now be responsible for both equity and bond portfolios, and continues to report to CEO Greg Seow. The firm is reportedly looking to hire new bond fund managers.

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