FTSE Russell Plans Big Hiring Spree to Make Taiwan Strategic Hub

(Bloomberg) -- FTSE Russell plans to hire dozens of employees in Taiwan in the coming year, turning the island into a strategic hub.

The index compiler, a unit of London Stock Exchange Group Plc, aims to increase its Taiwan-based workforce to 100 from 35 currently by next April, managing director Susan Lin said in an interview. Most of the hiring will be made locally to tap the growth in Asia’s index-linked products business, she said, as the region’s exchange-traded fund market is not as mature as that in the U.S. and Europe.

About 40-50 of the headcount will be dedicated to equity index business, more than 20 will work in fixed income, another 20 in sustainable investment and 10 in research and analytics, according to Lin.

“Taiwan has the advantage of a good talent pool, low hiring costs and central Asian location,” Lin said in an interview on Monday in Taipei. “That makes it a good choice for a hub.”

The fixed income ETF market in Taiwan -- the largest in Asia -- recorded double-digit growth for a ninth straight month in April. The island’s life insurers together control some NT$27.5 trillion ($883 billion) in assets, one of the largest pools of money in the world. But much of the money from Taiwanese insurers, which for years have sought higher yields elsewhere amid low domestic rates, has gone to Taiwan-listed ETFs tracking overseas bonds.

Read more insurers buying ETFs in Taiwan

Investors in Taiwan are joining the shift toward passive from active investment, a trend that’s been taking place elsewhere in the world for years. Insurers’ pursuit of yield and appetite for bond products is helping Taiwan’s fixed-income product market grow faster than others in the region, but ETFs launched so far are “rather basic,” Lin said.

FTSE Russell will also continue to explore acquisition opportunities following its purchase of fixed-income index business from Citigroup Inc. in 2017, according to Lin.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.