Manulife launches small cap Asian equity products

Manulife Singapore and its asset management arm have launched two investment products that they say will allow investors to tap on Asia's "hidden gems".

The products are the Manulife Asian Small Cap Equity Fund, an investment-linked policy sub-fund, and Manulife Funds - Manulife Asian Small Cap Equity Fund, a sub-fund of a unit trust.

They will invest in listed firms in Asia that have smaller market capitalisations.

Small and mid cap stocks in emerging markets in Asia tend to be under-researched and do not have a wide following among industry analysts, which suggests ample opportunities to benefit from pricing inefficiencies and catalysts that unlock value, Manulife said in a statement on Wednesday.

"Smaller companies have historically demonstrated great growth potential, having outperformed large cap stocks in most investment environments over the past 10 years," noted Manulife Singapore chief executive officer Annette King.

"In addition, a small cap fund generally offers diversification to investors who are not well-versed in small cap investment, to mitigate the risks of putting money in individual small cap stocks."

The investment-linked policy will be distributed through Manulife's agency and bancassurance channels, while the unit trust will be offered through banks and independent financial advisers.