Public Mutual and Manulife biggest winners of Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards 2023

KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): The Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards 2023 wrapped up on Tuesday with Manulife Investment Management (M) Bhd as the biggest group awards winner and Public Mutual Bhd as the biggest individual awards winner.

© Provided by The Edge

Manulife took home three group awards, alongside five individual awards, while Public Mutual won 19 individual awards. Other big winners include Hong Leong Asset Management Bhd, which grabbed 15 individual awards.

A total of 90 awards were given to 17 fund management companies at the awards ceremony held at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel here. This is the first time the event was held in person since 2019, due to the pandemic.

The last three years have not been easy to navigate for fund managers, said Kathy Fong, editor-in-chief of The Edge Malaysia, in her opening speech. The Edge Malaysia is the official presenter of the Refinitiv Lipper Fund Awards in Malaysia.

“The risks are getting higher and the visibility is getting lower… Your performance is testimony to how well the local fund management industry has adapted to a highly volatile market and rose to the challenges,” said Fong.

Many challenges remain going forward, she added. The collapse of the Silicon Valley Bank is the latest shockwave that went through the global financial markets. At the same time, inflation remains high and geopolitical tension continues to grow.

“These events tell us that 2023 is bringing a new set of challenges. But with that also [comes] its own set of opportunities. May the year turn out to be a better and more fruitful one for all, if not a more stable one,” said Fong.

The global fund flows in the last few years have reflected investors’ sentiment of significant market events, observed Xav Feng, head of Refinitiv Lipper Asia Pacific Research, in his presentation.

Global markets were badly hit by the pandemic in 2020 before returning to positive territory. Then, the Russia-Ukraine war in 2022, global inflation and the US Federal Reserve’s consecutive interest rate hikes turned the markets downwards.

“Most asset types fund enjoyed consecutive net inflows in 2021 but suffered outflows in 2022. On the contrary, we witnessed ESG funds continue to grow during the pandemic crisis. Although ESG funds encountered headwinds in 2022, the estimated net inflows were still positive,” said Feng.

In 2022, there was a nearly US$3 billion net outflow among all asset types in Malaysia. Equity funds enjoyed the highest net inflow while money market funds suffered from the highest outflow.

Feng concluded his speech by praising the winning fund managers for showing resilience through this challenging period.

Eight group and 82 individual awards were given out during the ceremony. Manulife, who won the greatest number of group awards, attributed the win to its team.

“This award is for the team, based on our good team work. But I think, more importantly, we need to continue with the good consistency. At the same time, the market continues to be challenging. We still think that based on our in-house philosophy, we should continue to do well and provide good returns for our investors,” said Gan Kong Yik, senior director and head of equity for Manulife.

Hoo See Kheng, the CEO of Hong Leong Asset Management, which took home 15 individual awards, said: “The awards are important but moving forward, the future is about whether we can continue to maintain the consistent fund returns for our investors.”