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IPO Delayed But Not Growth, Says Nikko's New CEO

The planned IPO has been postponed but Nikko Asset Management’s CEO-designate, Charles Beazley, still intends to expand the

Nikko Asset Management’s new CEO-designate is intent on expansion into new markets despite the postponement of the firm’s $2 billion Tokyo Stock Exchange IPO in December. Charles Beazley, who has just been announced as the new CEO and chairman with effect from April 1, said in an interview that Nikko, which manages $154 billion of assets and is one of the largest asset managers in Asia, is interested especially in Taiwan, Indonesia and South Korea.

Beazley, a 52-year-old Briton who is currently the Tokyo-based head of international and institutional business, also said Nikko hadn’t abandoned hope of a stock market listing. “An IPO is still on the horizon. But we’re not planning one while there’s a sovereign debt crisis in Europe, so we will wait until conditions improve. We don’t need the money, so there’s no urgency.” A listing had originally been scheduled for December 15, but it was cancelled on December 2.

Nikko has no presence as yet in Taiwan, Indonesia or South Korea, but believes there are long-term opportunities for asset-gathering in those countries. It’s not clear how they will build businesses there, but Nikko has in the recent past explored both the organic expansion route, as in Hong Kong, and acquisitions and joint ventures elsewhere. Beazley has, however, said the firm has $350 million available for acquisitions.

The firm has been steadily expanding outside Japan in recent years and now some 40 percent of its assets are held outside its home market. Among its most important moves have been the formation of a 40 percent joint venture in China in 2007 with Rongtong Fund Management, a business which has over $6 billion in assets under management, and the 2010 acquisition of Tyndall Asset Management in Australia. More recently, it added $7.9 billion of assets with the acquisition of DBS Asset Management in Singapore in September 2011, and announced a joint venture with India’s Ambit Holdings Pvt. Ltd.

Beazley is succeeding Timothy McCarthy, a 60-year-old American who is retiring after 8 years in the position. The Briton joined Nikko as President in London in 2006 and moved to Japan in 2010. He had previously been head of institutional and alternative investments at Gartmore Investment Management in London.

Although foreigners in Japan, Beazley’s family are familiar with the country. His maternal grandfather was Admiral Sir Bernard Rawlings, the U.K.’s naval attaché in the 1930s, and his mother also lived in Japan.

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