More than two years after Barings first discussed the intention for such a product, Ajay Argal will take the helm of a Dublin-domiciled Baring India Fund.
Argal joined the firm as head of Indian equities based in Hong Kong back in August, and was previously lead manager of Birla Sunlife India Advantage Fund and the India Excel Fund.
Murmurs of the company’s plans to launch an India equity portfolio first surfaced in September 2009 with the appointment of Kemmera Chakradhar Reddy as head of Indian equities.
At the time Ian Pascal, head of marketing at Barings was reported to have said the fund was in the early stages of development, but was likely to be domiciled offshore and structured to appeal to British investors.
But by May 2010 Barings had done an about turn and Rod Aldridge, the firm’s head of UK retail distribution said in press reports that the company was not about to announce an India fund.
Reddy subsequently left Barings to be replaced by Argal and a source at Barings said this was likely to have contributed to the delay of the fund launch.
Whatever the reason for its procrastination, Barings is now at least firmly behind the individual investment potential of India: As an emerging markets specialist it already has $288m in Indian equities through its general EM products (as at end of October).
The firm said it believes the Indian economy will continue to sustain the high GDP growth it has shown over the past decade, which it thinks will be driven by a fast-developing upper middle and high-class consumer segment.
Low personal and national debt and extensive government spending are additional factors behind the country’s appeal, Barings added.
The Ucits-compliant fund will focus on Indian equities, but can invest up to 30% of its value in companies listed outside India or within the subcontinent that conduct a significant proportion of their business within the country.
It will typically have a relatively high concentration of between 30 and 50 holdings and has an AMC of 1.5%.