Lipper Analytical, a data company recently purchased by Reuters, is attempting to reconcile the preservation of its independence with the demands of being owned by a media giant. Michael Lipper, the company's founder, said independence was necessary to maintain its privileged and confidential links with business, media and regulators. He said: 'In fairly frank and detailed discussions, Reuters understands and sponsors our need.' Public perception that the company is being subsumed by the media group could threaten its reputation for even-handedness with other media outlets, destroy confidences nurtured with fund-management houses, and jeopardise its ad hoc work with US regulators, he said. Since announcing the sale - reported to have boosted Mr Lipper's fortunes by US$100 million - the company has been reassessing its potential, priorities and place within a larger corporate culture. Mr Lipper said: 'When you take a $5 billion corporate culture and combine it with a much smaller entrepreneurial culture you need to start thinking in new terms.' Lipper, a fund-management data company, is the latest in a string of acquisitions by Reuters of financial-data companies in Britain and the European continent. Mr Lipper seems intent on assessing how to complement rather than compete in new markets with the new owner. 'We will form links if they make commercial sense. This is going to be a non-integrated subsidiary that will make commercial judgments rather than filial judgments. 'In many ways, Reuters is a technical company. For example, they have more than three times the number of staff involved in technology than in their news agency. 'How we use their technology is something we are studying now. Clearly they have both cash for investment and a history of making lots of small acquisitions. 'The Hong Kong office has a number of products and services specifically designed for the Hong Kong market and also offers global products and services out of the United States and United Kingdom.' Mr Lipper said the company was considering where and when to expand its operations. Financial liberalisation in Japan would appear to make it an attractive long-term target. 'We have lots of contacts in Japan and have been providing information to them for 20 years about US and offshore funds. It is too early to say we are going to open an office, but it is a market which is a high priority.' Finding success in different Asian markets required finding the right mix of products and presentation. 'We do not want to poison a market. We need to find the appropriate and idiomatic translation. 'I would perceive that we would need to invest in Asia for many years in order to build the optimal level of client services. There is no better time to start than now. Later this summer we will start sending people out there.' Hong Kong's fund-management industry was still in its infancy when the regional economic crisis started last year. Industry figures estimate that between 3 per cent to 5 per cent of the population has a unit trust. In the United States, the industry has about $5 trillion spread among four in every 10 households. Despite high Asian savings rates, the industry has been unable to secure the same profile in Asia. Hong Kong's Mandatory Provident Fund should provide an opportunity for fund-management groups. Mr Lipper estimated that by 2007 the global fund-management industry would have grown from $7 trillion to $30 trillion. Half of this would come from explosive growth outside the US.