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Asset Management: Martin Currie proves sizeist critics wrong

Fund managers with medium-size AUMs can be successful.

The ability of medium-size fund managers to run profitable and successful businesses has always been questioned, but Edinburgh-based Martin Currie is bucking the trend. The active equity manager has just celebrated a record quarter in new business. Assets under management increased by $2.5 billion so far this year, taking the total AUM to more than $22 billion. And every mutual fund performed in the top quartile.

The growth of Martin Currie has been impressive. Five years ago, the specialist active equity manager had a dependence on two principal strategies. Over the past three years, however, the firm has tripled its spending on the investment side of the business and doubled its spending on sales and marketing. It now has seven key strategies that are available in separate accounts, and through its OEIC and Sicav mutual fund range. It also manages seven long/short hedge funds.

There are satellite offices in London, New York and Shanghai, in addition to the Edinburgh headquarters. Among its clients are some of Europe and North America's largest pension funds and endowments, and they seem happy. In 2005, 55% of new assets came from existing clients.

The secret of Martin Currie’s success seems to lie in its business structure.

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