SINGAPORE (Dec 13): Hong Kong-based CSOP Asset Management set up an office in Singapore just two months ago. As part of its asset management services, CSOP wants to service both family offices as well as its own family office set-up.
Since launching this service in late 2018, CSOP has amassed assets under management of US$500 million ($679 million), drawn from its family office clients. It is aiming to hit US$1 billion “soon” — although finding the right people to help drive this growth is an equally important priority, says Melody He, CSOP’s head of business development, in an interview with The Edge Singapore.
She agrees to the suggestion that private banks offer a much wider range of products and services, but there are many “product gaps” that firms such as CSOP can capture. “We do not seek to compete with the private banks but to supplement what they are offering,” says He.
For example, CSOP claims to be strong in certain products such as money market exchange-traded funds, which are suitable for risk-averse clients who are seeking better rates for their cash balances in this low-yield environment. These clients, taking a year-end break from active trading, might want to put their cash to work. Instead of shopping around and looking at 10 banks to get the best shortterm rates for their cash, they just need to buy these money market ETFs, in the currencies of their choice: US dollar, Hong Kong dollar or even renminbi, she says.
If the clients want to move their funds quickly around various private banks — including those in which they do not have an existing account — the onboarding process takes some time. “The banks have made it very difficult for clients to operate. They have a very rigid approach, and they are becoming more and more expensive,” says Sotiris Venardos, CSOP’s head of family office, in the same interview.
Now, with CSOP setting up shop in Singapore and starting to collect AUM in Singapore dollar as well, SGD-denominated ETFs will be offered too, says He.
CSOP, headed by CEO Ding Chen, was started just 10 years ago. It has about US$6.2 billion of AUM. CSOP is the first offshore asset manager set up by a regulated asset management company in China to establish operations in Singapore.
As CSOP is a relatively new player, its family office clients tend to be first-generation founder-entrepreneurs, instead of “old money” families with several generations of wealth. However, CSOP is starting to see more of the old money coming on board. “They previously banked elsewhere, but there are certain pockets of demand that cannot be fulfilled,” says He.
CSOP’s longer-term aim is to not only build up its own AUM base for its family office clients but to also serve the wider ecosystem of other family offices as well. He observers that the family office market is still quite fragmented, with many small set-ups manned by just a few managers each. Clearly, there are a lot of services that they cannot provide and that is where CSOP comes in. “What we are trying to do here is to design products, tweak them and present them in the way the family office community wants,” says He.