JPMorgan Korea fund CEO sees more 2007 launches

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Seoul, Nov 2: The South Korean fund management arm of JPMorgan Chase&Co. expects to launch two new funds into the market before year end as it looks to raise $500 million of assets in its first year, its chief executive said on Friday.

JPMorgan Asset Management Korea has already raised $290 million in assets under management with six funds it has launched since entering the market earlier this year, added Toby Cha, the firm's chief executive.

''There are two more coming this year, maybe in November. One is a global emerging market fund, and one a China fund,'' he told Reuters.

JPMorgan Asset, which manages more than $1 trillion globally, launched its fund business in South Korea in June, becoming the 50th asset manager operating in the market.

Global financial giants including UBS , Goldman Sachs , Credit Suisse , and ING Groep's have all recently advanced into South Korea, lured by surging inflows into equity fund products from retail investors.

The market as a whole has 284 trillion won ($313.2 billion) in assets under management according to the Asset Management Association of Korea, making it one of the region's largest onshore markets after Japan and China.

Looking ahead to 2008, Cha said the number of product launches had not been decided and would depend on demand from South Korean investors.

''We tested our capacity this year. Within just four months, we launched six funds. So we can launch, not as much as we want, but we can launch many funds,'' he said.

''Probably, we (can) safely say we can launch 7 to 8 funds, but again, the more important thing is what kind of funds? We have to have a very close dialogue with distributors and investors.''


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