German index provider Solactive opened an office in Hong Kong last week in a bid to attract exchange traded fund (ETF) and structured product issuers, particularly for its thematic indices.
In an interview with Citywire Asia, CEO Steffen Scheuble said the firm sees a big trend in the distribution of structured products in the Asia Pacific region, circling around the thematic approaches such as cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, big data and emerging market consumption.
The company will be translating these themes into indices, and as such, is looking to hire experts in Hong Kong to provide customised indexing solutions and services related to ETFs and other index-linked investment products.
The new office will be led by Jennifer Steding, who has been Solactive’s team head for fixed income indexing for close to three years.
Scheuble believes that certain thematic indices will work well for private banks in particular.
‘Thematic indices that focus on the area of circular economies such as sustainable resources or sharing economy, edge technologies such as smart city and industry 4.0, as well as lifestyle - like wellness and tourism - seem like a great fit,’ he said.
The company is also going to develop an index specific to the autocallable market in Asia, which will be based on similar Solactive indices developed for the European and US markets.
‘There is already a framework to offer a South Korea and an Asia Pacific tailor-made version of the index concept in the pipelines and we hope to go live soon,’ Scheuble said.
Solactive is also looking to market its Global Benchmark series in Asia. The indices track developed and emerging markets and are weighted according to free float market capitalisation.
ETF issuers and structured product houses currently make up a large part of the index provider’s clients in Asia.
However, Scheuble said that active asset managers and other institutional investors, such as pension funds, have also started partnering with the firm in the region.
The Frankfurt-headquartered index provider has been expanding its presence in the past two years. It opened a Toronto office earlier this year, and invested in offices in Germany, Berlin and Dresden.