FRANCE - Crédit Agricole Asset Management is considering an acquisition in the US, according to chief investment officer Pascal Blanqué.

He said CAAM was looking to grow in two territories – Asia and the US. Blanqué said that growth in Asia would be organic but that CAAM was looking for an acquisition route into the US.

“We have a strong position in European fixed income, and credit and inflation linked have been the key drivers in the past two years,” he told IPE.

“As far as credit is concerned you can build a decent coverage of the euro zone taking an organic approach and this has been done with 25 analysts giving good coverage of the European names,” he added.

“Since we want to upgrade the global bond product the name of the game for us is to extend and enlarge the investment universe within the credit asset classes. And we need resources and coverage capabilities.

“A European big player can cover the big names in the US, especially the ones issuing in Europe, organically,” Blanqué said. “But when it comes to the medium-sized and small companies in the US it’s very difficult.”

He said that it was too early to say what CAAM intends to acquire and said that the Paris-based group would take a modest approach. “It’s a part of our thinking,” he added. “It’s a way to say that we intend go to a global fixed income coverage.

“There is an interesting market in the US for inflation linked products, and we’ve got euro inflation linked, global inflation linked. This is one of the institutional market segments with interesting momentum in the US.

He said: “What we have in mind is that we will need a complementary expertise on a very focused basis, to pursue a policy of enlarging the investment universe, especially for credit. It is clearly an identified need.”

He said that expansion in Asia would be through organic growth. “We have credit analysis based in Singapore.

“We are great fans of the potential of the Asian fixed income market over the next three to five years,” Blanqué said. “There are huge pools of savings in the_region, huge infrastructure needs to be financed. Debt products will be used more freely, and this is the intention of the authorities.”