Ken Goh,

Portfolio Manager,

CIMB Principal Asset Management Pte. Ltd. Singapore


With a growing young workforce, a rapidly-expanding middle class driving rising domestic demand and outperforming regional markets, the South-East Asia region is one no investor can afford to overlook. Investing in equities and equity-related securities of companies located in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the WIOF South-East Asia Performance Fund offers investors the chance to take advantage of the growing economies and markets of one of the world’s most economically-dynamic regions.



The Fund has repeatedly outperformed since its inception, posting returns more than 5% higher than the comparative FTSE ASEAN 40 Index over the last year (as of 31.3.2013) as well as more than 10% in 2011 – notably delivering handsome returns amid an environment of global market volatility and stuttering economic growth.


And it is set to continue to outperform as it draws on the attractive investment fundamentals offered by some of the most dynamic economies in the world, including:


  • An estimated combined regional population of 500 million and GDP of USD2 trillion.
  • A combined market capitalization of USD1.9 trillion.
  • Strong and growing domestic demand driven by an expanding young workforce and a growing and affluent middle class.





The South-East Asia region is defined by its growth, both economically and physically. Domestic demand is expected to keep growing at the same time as the region’s young workforce and middle class expands, and FDI and infrastructure spending rises. Regional GDP growth has been strong in recent years and it is set to grow soundly this year while it is expected its growth will outstrip that of major western economies in the coming years.


GDP growth (annual %)




































United Kingdom





Source: IMF


But while there is often a perception that the ASEAN region’s growth is export dependent – something which could potentially hurt the region in the current global downturn - the reality is that domestic demand is now playing a much greater role in boosting growth, not just in larger, more closed economies like Indonesia, but even in traditionally more export-oriented economies like Thailand and Malaysia.



A number of other fundamental developments are also strengthening the region’s economic health and, subsequently, investment opportunities:


  • Governments in the region are moving to support their economies with a range of fiscal and other policy measures including income tax cuts, hikes in minimum wages and spending on infrastructure and rebuilding. Together these should bolster investment spending and domestic consumption.
  • China’s investment in Asia has been growing at double digit rates in recent years and between 2011 and 2012. Already the provider of more loans to developing countries than the World Bank, according to research by the Financial Times, China finances numerous agriculture, hydropower, housing, railway and mining projects in the region. While this creates job opportunities and provides an investment boost to the local economy, it also introduces an element of potential competition for domestic companies.
  • Governments in the region have been proactive in encouraging foreign direct investment into their respective economies in recent years. Given the prospects of lacklustre global growth, ASEAN economies are expected to pursue more active reforms to continue attracting more investment into the region.



The region’s potential is also being seized upon by the countries within it. Over the past three decades, economic links between ASEAN members have grown tremendously and in the last ten years intra-ASEAN trade has grown faster than total ASEAN exports. ASEAN countries have all committed themselves to creating an ASEAN Free Trade Area, an ASEAN-wide manufacturing base, an ASEAN Investment area, and ultimately a single ASEAN integrated economy. The 1997 Asian financial crisis tested this commitment and found ASEAN to be committed in its programmes for economic integration. All this can only be good for investors in the longer term as an integrated ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) is expected to allow for easier liberalisation and facilitation of investments into the region which would help make ASEAN countries more globally competitive.



Despite a more subdued global growth environment, growth rates in the ASEAN region are still likely to compare favourably with those in developed markets, where the deleveraging cycle continues to dictate cautious investor sentiment. The economies of the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia have exhibited resilient growth prospects, fuelling a continued positive investment outlook going forward while equity valuations remain supportive of an underlying continued re-rating. Earnings expectations, which have moderated over the past year, may have potential upside surprises.


The Fund’s investment adviser is the award-winning Asian investment specialist CIMB-Principal Asset Management, part of CIMB Group, South East Asia’s fourth largest banking group. It has USD10.2 billion of assets under management and an integrated team of more than 50 investment professionals across the region using their local knowledge and presence to ensure clients get the best possible service.


IMPORTANT NOTE: This report has been prepared for information only, and it does not represent an offer to purchase or subscribe to shares. World Investment Opportunities Funds (“WIOF”) is registered on the official list of collective investment undertakings pursuant to part I of the Luxembourg law of 17 December 2010 on collective investment undertakings as an open-ended investment company. WIOF believes that the information is correct at the date of production while obtained from carefully selected sources considered to be reliable. No warranty or representation is given to this effect and no liability can be assumed for the correctness or accuracy of the given information which may be subject to change at any time, without notice. Past performance provides neither a guarantee, nor an indication of future performance. Value of the shares and return they generate can fall as well as rise. Currency fluctuations, either up or down, may also affect value of the investment. Due to continuing market volatility and exchange rate fluctuations, the performance may be subject to significant changes over a short-term period. Investors should be aware that shares in the financial instruments entail investment risks, including the possible loss of the invested capital. Performance is usually calculated on the basis of the relevant NAV unless stated otherwise. Performance shown does not take account of any fees and costs associated with subscribing or redeeming shares. It is assumed that all dividends were reinvested. WIOF prospectus is available and may be obtained through www.1cornhill.com. Before investing in any WIOF Sub-fund(s) investors should contact their financial adviser/legal adviser/tax adviser and refer to all relevant documents relating to the WIOF and its particular Sub-fund(s), such as the latest annual report and prospectus that specify the particular risks associated with the Sub-fund, together with any specific restrictions applying, and the basis of dealing. In the event investors choose not to seek advice from a financial adviser/legal adviser/tax adviser, they should consider whether the WIOF is a suitable investment for them.