Individual investors can now invest in Asian convertible bonds through a newly authorised fund run by Thornton Management (Asia). The open-ended fund, originally launched for institutional investors in November 1994, has been authorised by the Securities and Futures Commission for sale to retail investors. As Asian companies' capital requirements grew, many were unable to meet their needs in the region's equity markets and turned to other financing, fund manager Stuart Winchester said. The result was a boom in Asia's convertible-bond markets, with total issues growing to more than US$25 billion from less than $2 billion in 1993. This growth provided investors with a greater selection of better issues, Mr Winchester said. The $12.6 million fund carries an initial fee of 3 per cent and an annual management fee of 1.75 per cent of net asset value. The minimum investment is $2,000. Net asset value per unit was $12.05 as of February 28 this year, up from $10 on launch in November 1994.