Neuberger Berman expands thematic offering with Asia 5G UCITS launch

Neuberger Berman, a private, independent, employee-owned investment manager, is expanding its successful thematic offering with an equity strategy focusing on disruptive innovations and applications in Asia. 

The Neuberger Berman InnovAsia 5G fund will invest in innovative technologies and business models in the early adoption phase to capture the expanding thematic universe around 5G technology. The fund will also have the remit to invest in IPOs. 

The all-cap thematic equity strategy will focus on companies with a market penetration of less than 20 per cent, where the majority of incremental growth is driven by Asia. The team will look for businesses with proven track records and strategic links to established Asian innovation ecosystems – including 5G network infrastructure, internet of things (IoT), digital lifestyle trends and industrial innovations.  

The strategy will comprise between 30-60 stocks and follow a disciplined stock selection process based on in-depth fundamental research and thematic relevance. The fund will also analyse environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in its portfolio construction process. 

The fund will be co-managed by former chip designer YT Boon, based in Hong Kong, and Hari Ramanan in New York. The two lead managers, who also run the Neuberger Berman 5G Connectivity fund, will take a research intensive, bottom-up approach. They will be backed by an experienced team with local insights into Asian innovation ecosystems, including research analysts based in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Japan. 

Boon says: “Asia is emerging as the new Silicon Valley. Spearheading technology innovation and adoption, this fast-growing region is no longer just a low-cost manufacturing base. By 2025, Asia will dominate 70 per cent of 5G connections globally. In order to capture this enormous potential, we will dynamically allocate to different areas of innovation where we hope to unearth the hidden gems of Asian innovation, which have long runways of growth.” 

Ramanan adds: “Driven by technology adoption in younger and older generations, Asia has leapfrogged the West to become an innovation powerhouse. The region dominates in leading edge semiconductor manufacturing, digital healthcare and online education services, and has set the scene for e-commerce, robotics, clean tech and logistics.” 

Jose Cosio, head of intermediary sales for EMEA and Latin America at Neuberger Berman, says: “Following the success of our 5G Connectivity and Next Generation Mobility funds and anchored by a six-month distribution partnership with UBS Global Wealth Management, we think now is the right time to launch the Neuberger Berman InnovAsia 5G fund. The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the demand for connectivity-related investments generally and, through a blend of technology and investment expertise in Asian markets, our team is well positioned to provide clients with an insider’s perspective.”