UOB, Mirae Asset partner to create thematic ETFs in markets, including S'pore

The ETFs will be rolled out over the next three years and listed in Singapore and other markets. ST PHOTO: SAMUEL ANG

SINGAPORE - UOB Asset Management is partnering Mirae Asset Global Investments to create exchange-traded funds (ETF) targeting returns from three major growth trends in Asia.

UOB Asset Management chief executive Thio Boon Kiat said the firms will focus on building ETFs around the "megatrends" of changing demographics, going green and the digital economy.

The ETFs will be rolled out over the next three years and listed in Singapore as well as other markets where UOB Asset Management has a presence, such as Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Mirae Asset specialises in creating thematic ETFs and manages the Global X ETFs series in Hong Kong, but does not yet have regulatory approval to distribute any products in Singapore.

Its major funds include the US$7 billion (S$9.5 billion) Nasdaq 100 Covered Call ETF and the US$4.8 billion Lithium & Battery Tech ETF.

It has also created a range of other thematic ETFs aimed at capturing growth in industries spanning video games to artificial intelligence, as well as geographies such as Argentina and China.

Mr Thio said on Tuesday (March 29) that the collaboration with Mirae Asset will enable his firm to "benefit from their insights, knowledge and know-hows on thematic ETFs".

"Working with like-minded partners such as Mirae Asset enables us to provide investors with more investing options and contribute to the vibrancy of the region's ETF markets."

Mr Jung-Ho Rhee, chief executive of Mirae Asset, said his firm "will be working to offer investors in South-east Asia a wide range of high-quality thematic growth strategies".

Last year, the two firms launched United Hero ETF, a video games and e-sports ETF, in Thailand.

An ETF is a basket of securities that is traded on a stock exchange. While they are easier to trade than mutual funds and enable investors to build diversified, long-term portfolios that are less risky than individual stocks, they can also be more illiquid.

ETFs have gained in popularity in recent years. Total ETF investments in the Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) totalled US$543.1 billion as at the end of November 2021, with 2,467 listings on 20 exchanges, noted research firm ETFGI.

Singapore Exchange (SGX) data showed that total assets under management of SGX-listed ETFs increased almost 50 per cent to $12.6 billion in the year to December 2021.

There are 52 ETFs listed on the SGX. Some of the better performing ones are the SPDR STI ETF, which tracks the top 30 companies on the SGX, and the Lion-OCBC Securities Hang Seng Tech ETF, which tracks the top 30 companies on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

There are also locally listed ETFs tracking the price of gold, real estate investment trusts (Reit) and bonds.

UOB Asset Management listed the world's first Asia-Pacific green Reit ETF, which gives investors in Singapore access to quality green Reits across the region, on the SGX last year.

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