Mellon Bank Corp. continues to stamp its passport with international asset management deals.
The Pittsburgh banking company announced Thursday that it has entered an alliance with the investment unit of United Overseas Bank Group, Singapore.
In a bid to expand its global asset management capabilities, Mellon has set up similar alliances in Japan, Hong Kong, Chile, and Brazil. It has also agreed to buy an equity stake in a British investment firm, Newton Management Ltd.
W. Keith Smith, a Mellon vice chairman, said the company will work with UOB Asset Management to develop and sell investment products in Singapore and eventually in the United States. The deal does not require Mellon to invest in UOB, which manages roughly $1.3 billion, he said.
Amid market volatility in Asia, investors are moving into cash vehicles as well as longer-term, non-Asian investment products, Mr. Smith said. "In the immediate future, the primary interest will be to sell North American and European products to that market."
He added that Mellon will wait for Southeast Asian markets to settle down somewhat before pitching to U.S. investors products that focus on the region.
In Singapore, he said, Mellon will sell products both to retail investors, drawing on its $101.5 billion-asset Dreyfus mutual funds, and to institutional investors.
"There are also big pools of money like our defined benefit market," which would provide separate account business with institutions, Mr. Smith said.
Within six months, the companies expect to kick off their first joint project-a fund to be created by UOB and Mellon's institutional investment unit, Dreyfus Global Investors, Mr. Smith said.
"Longer term, we have tied ourselves to a quality partner," he said, adding that Mellon was drawn to the Singapore market "because of its economic strength."
Michael L. Mayo, a bank analyst at Credit Suisse First Boston, said asset management has been a good investment for Mellon.
"We generally prefer to see banks expand in areas of relative strength," he said. However, Mr. Mayo cautioned, "that has to be balanced with the risk taken on, with new markets and customers at a time of relative uncertainty."