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South Korean asset manager Samsung Asset Management has acquired minority stakes in the US exchange-traded fund provider Amplify, allowing it to exclusively distribute the latter’s ETFs in Asia.
Samsung AM acquired its 20 per cent stake in Amplify via its special purpose vehicle in the US, making it the second-largest shareholder in the global thematic active ETF issuer.
The move marks a strategic business alliance between the two in the ETF space, where they will develop new products and marketing strategies together. The Korean asset manager will be Amplify’s exclusive ETF partner in Asia, according to a press release.
Amplify had more than $4.4bn in assets at the end of 2021, offering a wide range of thematic products including the blockchain-industry focused Amplify Transformational Data Sharing ETF and Amplify Seymour Cannabis ETF.
“We expect to be able to offer more innovative investment solutions in Korea, as well as in the Asian region through close collaboration with Amplify,” Philip Suh, chief executive of Samsung, said.
Samsung AM is the largest fund manager in South Korea, with about $258bn in assets under management at the end of December 2021.
In recent months, it has been focusing on expanding its ETF range, launching ETFs focusing on themes, particularly the metaverse. It listed the Samsung Kodex K-Metaverse Active ETF in October 2021 and then the Samsung Kodex US Metaverse Nasdaq Active ETF in December.
The launches come as metaverse ETFs are drawing in retail investors in South Korea who are betting that the hype around virtual reality will deliver them real returns.
The term metaverse is used to describe a virtual space where internet users can engage with other users in a virtual or augmented reality environment.
Meanwhile, other Seoul-based fund firms are also building alliances in the region, in a bid to boost their own ETF business.
Mirae Asset Global Investments’ Hong Kong business, for example, has partnered Singapore’s UOB Asset Management to jointly develop ETFs for south-east Asian markets.
Thematic investing was also one of the key areas of product innovation focus cited by asset managers in the region, according to a survey last December by market maker Jane Street, with 25 per cent of respondents expecting thematic ETFs to grow the most over the next year.
*Ignites Asia is a news service published by FT Specialist for professionals working in the asset management industry. It covers everything from new product launches to regulations and industry trends. Trials and subscriptions are available at ignitesasia.com.