NETHERLANDS - Canara Robeco Asset Management, a joint venture between Dutch asset manager Robeco and Indian bank Canara, won a $150m (€103m) mandate from a Dutch pension fund at the end of March and more recently was awarded a mandate worth $200m from a Middle East investor, according to Hester Borrie, a member of Canara Robeco's board.
"We're seeing a lot of interest from institutions," Borrie told IPE's sister publication IPNederland. "Several institutional investors are presently looking at our offerings."
Robeco, which has €150bn in assets under management, launched the joint venture three years ago, partnering with Canara, one of India's larger state banks.
The joint asset manager focuses on Indian equity, bonds and money market products. Canara Robeco serves both domestic Indian clients and non-Indian institutional investors, offering investment funds as well as segregated account solutions.
India has in recent years been plagued with governance troubles and fraud, but Canara Robeco has kept itself well out of scandals' way.
Borrie said: "We have introduced many of our Robeco standards into the joint venture. We apply stringent standards, and that approach has paid off. And as a State bank, it is in Canara's best interest in the longer term to operate in the correct way."
She added: "Lately, a lot of players have withdrawn from India, but we have found the right local partner to be able to get this going and do it well. Already we have won several awards with our Indian equity products."
Despite Indian governance woes, investor interest in India is still on the rise, Borrie said.
"Over the past few years, institutional investors have become structurally more interested in emerging markets," she said. "And as knowledge of emerging markets has increased, we're seeing that people start making more targeted allocations to specific countries, such as India, to capitalise on investment opportunities unique to that country."
The fact Indian equities have become relatively expensive is no longer a deterrent, she added.
"In the past, people would play these types of investments with a short-term approach," she said. "One would get into the game when equities were cheap and get out again when they became too pricey.
"But nowadays people take the more structural approach of wanting to benefit from certain developments in these markets. Investors no longer consider price alone and pay more attention to the long-term perspective these investments have to offer."
That is a good thing, she believes.
"Institutional investors shouldn't even want to make a tactical play in this asset class, and we're not pushing this as a tactical strategy," she said. "I don't think it is at all wise to invest in this driven by short-term objectives. These are typically investments to consider from a long-term perspective."