La Trobe to grow Asian footprint

Australian credit specialist La Trobe Financial is eager to grow its business in Asia following recent trade agreements signed in the region by the Australian government.

The lender was recently one of 14 companies chosen by the Australian government to help explain the benefits of the China Free Trade Agreement.

“It’s really a magic trifecta of trade agreements,” La Trobe Financial CEO Greg O’Neill said.

“The Japan, South Korea and now China agreements have been signed all giving our country unprecedented opportunity.

“The agreement with China alone, as the world’s second-largest economy is a tremendous result for our future and the future of many Australians. The Asia-Pacific region is very dynamic as evidenced by Japan signing up to the ASIA Fund Passport initiative of APEC giving a new impetus to financial services across our region; the ASIA Funds Passport now includes Australia, Philippines, Japan, Thailand, New Zealand, Singapore and Korea.

“China has also separately opened up its funds management industry to operators registered in Hong Kong granting mainland access to retail investors.”

La Trobe has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a large Chinese securities house to ensure that it is well positioned to capitalise on the new arrangements.

The group’s vice president and chief wealth management officer, Martin Barry, said that Asian investors constitute approximately five per cent of La Trobe’s business by value.

“Following the China Free Trade Agreement we expect that to grow further; our largest investment mandate today from the Asian region is $400 million.

“Our existing registered entity in the China Free Trade Zone in Shanghai will be a prime beneficiary of the trade liberalisation deals struck by our government and this is a most important time for all Australian businesses to be outward looking and engaging with our northern neighbours who share our time zone,” he said.

La Trobe Financial employs 150 staff across three offices Melbourne, Sydney and Shanghai.

 

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