Janus opens Singapore office to tap Southeast Asia

SINGAPORE, Sept 20 Wed Sep 19, 2007 11:52pm EDT

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SINGAPORE, Sept 20 (Reuters) - U.S. fund manager Janus Capital Group (JNS.N) (JNS.N) said on Thursday it has opened a Singapore office to tap the Southeast Asian market and to be closer to the many private banks in the city-state.

The Singapore office, which has three employees, will market the firm's investments and provide services to clients in the region, said Erich Gerth, the chief executive of Janus Capital International, who is in the city-state for the official opening of the firm's premises.

"Our main focus is on institutions and professional investors where (Janus-managed funds) are used inside a larger portfolio," he said in an interview with Reuters.

"Singapore is quickly becoming the Asian hub for most major (private) banks," he added.

Founded in 1969, Denver-based Janus manages about $190.6 billion in assets. It recently received mandates to manage funds from China and Taiwan although its biggest customer base is still the United States, which accounts for all but some $16 billion of assets under management, Gerth said.

Janus earlier this year opened an office in Melbourne to service its clients in Australia. The firm also has a presence in Tokyo and Hong Kong.

In recent years many private banks such as UBS (UBSN.VX), Credit Suisse (CSGN.VX) and Societe Generale (SOGN.PA) have set up regional private banking offices in Singapore, seeking to tap a swelling pool of wealth in the city-state and in Asia.

The fund management industry's assets in Singapore stood at $581 billion at the end of 2006, up 24 percent from 2005 and triple the level of 2000, according to central bank data.

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