PETALING JAYA: The private retirement scheme (PRS) licence held by ING Funds Bhd was a key factor in its acquisition by K&N Kenanga Holdings Bhd, sources said, a move its new owners expect to pave the way for Kenanga to become a PRS provider.
Plans for Kenanga's own PRS, however, are still being worked out as its purchase of ING Funds is only slated to be wrapped up by the first quarter of next year, pending regulatory approvals, people familiar with the matter told StarBiz.
A spokeswoman for Kenanga declined to comment when contacted earlier this week, saying most top executives were on holiday.
Kenanga announced last Friday that its wholly-owned fund management unit Kenanga Investors Bhd had, via Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd, inked a deal to buy 100% of ING Funds from ING Groep NV and the latter's joint-venture partner Tab InterAsia Services Sdn Bhd.
ING held 70% of ING Funds with Tab InterAsia holding the remaining 30%.
Kenanga added that the merger would give it combined assets under management of RM5bil.
A separate statement from ING said ING Funds was among the top-five non-bank fund management houses in Malaysia, managing some 500 million euros (RM2.03bil) in assets for third-party clients across all traditional asset classes.
ING Funds has yet to officially launch its PRS, although there is a link on its homepage to a microsite for a product called “OnePRS”.
A note posted on the OnePRS page reads: “This webpage will be accessible by the public upon the approval of the OnePRS Master Disclosure Document by the Securities Commission (SC).”
Besides some generic information on PRS, the site lists the three default funds conservative, moderate and growth the firm will be offering.
ING Funds was one of the eight intermediaries granted PRS licences by the SC in April alongside Hwang Investment Management Bhd, Manulife Asset Management Services Bhd, CIMB-Principal Asset Management Bhd, Public Mutual Bhd, AmInvestment Management Sdn Bhd, American International Assurance Bhd and RHB Investment Management Sdn Bhd.
ING Funds, which serves both retail and institutional clients, is the local affiliate of Amsterdam-based ING's investment management arm. It was not involved in the sale of ING's Malaysian insurance operations to AIA Group Ltd in October.
Dutch financial services giant ING has been trying to hive off its Asian insurance and fund management assets to repay the 10-billion-euro state bailout it received during the 2008 financial crisis.
Incidentally, Datuk Steve Ong, the newly appointed chief executive officer of the Private Pension Administrator, the body created by the SC to oversee the private pension industry, was the former head of ING Funds, which he helped set up in 2003.
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