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Asset management in Asia-Pac is booming. And capable money managers are an increasingly important source of competitive advantage.

"Asset management in Asia-Pacific is a tiny part of the total profit and loss, but it's growing far faster than any other part of the bank," one banker who recently transferred from New York tells us.

"You are seeing a domino effect where market after market in this region is deregulating and liberalising its asset management industry," he adds.

The change comes from the fact that important economies like China and India, as well as much smaller but vigorous economies in South East Asia, are finally building up social welfare systems and collecting vast amounts of assets which need to be put to work.

China, for example, recently permitted its insurance companies to put some of their assets - although limited by quota - to work in international markets.

At the same time - and unlike investment banking, which is virtually a closed shop in the region - the exploding asset management market is seen as wide open to new entrants.

Credit Suisse, for example, has ramped up its asset management team for Asia ex-Japan and Australia to 54 in total, from just four staff 15 months ago.

The potential for fast growth in Asia-Pac asset management is luring senior figures from New York and London.

"Senior managers are excited about the potential for hyper-growth in asset management," says one asset manager, who himself transferred from the investment banking side. "It's a great time to get ahead by transferring to such a booming market."

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