Invesco Asia is hoping to educate the public at MoneyWorld Asia - Hong Kong '97 on the importance of small and medium cap companies in Southeast Asia's emerging markets. Alfred Ho, an associate director at Invesco and adviser to the company's Asia Enterprise Fund, said the fund operated on the premise that the Asian investment market was no longer viewed as a single entity. 'People used to treat Southeast Asia as a single market but, increasingly, the economies are becoming more mature and require a better understanding,' he said. 'The region as a whole is facing some cyclical problems. Last year, there was a cyclical slowdown on the export front for many Asian economies because of the very strong US dollar and the very weak Japanese yen. 'But, at the beginning of this year, some of the cyclical factors were improving. The nature of the market has changed. There is not the 15-20 per cent growth any more. It is a lot more cyclical as competition becomes keener with the emergence of Eastern Europe and Latin America. 'Therefore, we have to look at emerging companies with future growth. That is why we are interested in small and medium cap firms.' He said there were three forces behind growth in Asia's medium to small cap sector. 'Deregulation and the dismantling of monopoly/oligopoly structures creates opportunities for new entrants. Examples are telecommunications, manufacturing and services. 'Secondly, the privatisation programmes and asset injections have created a substantial opportunity for smaller companies to benefit from new business opportunities - the prime examples being those in Malaysia and Hong Kong. 'The third factor is that increasing sophistication among Asian investors has led to greater interest in, and demand for, medium and small growth companies in the region.' Mr Ho defined mid-cap companies as those with a market capitalisation of between US$1 billion and US$3 billion, while small cap companies were market capitalised under US$1 billion. Nick Hinds, an Invesco associate director in charge of promotions, said the company's strength was its track record. 'We are one of the most stable fund management companies in town. We are part of a global network with assets under management exceeding US$89 billion,' he said. 'We are also the fifth largest independent investment management group in the world with more than US$160 billion of assets managed by 200 fund managers, for more than 500 institutional and five million retail clients.' Mr Hinds said Invesco's participation in MoneyWorld Asia was to educate the public about mutual funds and what was available for the prudent investor. He said the company had a disciplined investment approach which emphasised consistency of returns at global, regional and country levels. 'This has enabled us to achieve strong performance within acceptable risk parameters,' he said.