Financial institutions, like some politicians, are keen to use ethnicity to push their agenda. This week, ABN Amro Asset Management began the Hong Kong launch of its India equity fund in, well, a very ethnic manner. Perhaps sensing journalists covering the fund industry were growing weary of the emerging markets concept - HSBC and Manulife both organised press briefings recently for such funds - the Dutch bank smartly added a pinch of extra marketing flavour to the launch. First, to echo the fund's investment theme, the press conference was held at an upmarket Indian restaurant in Central, instead of the usual hotel function rooms where dim sum or sandwiches were served. The gathered hacks certainly watched attentively when a local yoga master gave a brief demonstration of the ancient Indian exercise form before the fund presentation. Journalists were also given coupons for a free session at the yoga master's school. It was a unique way to keep your audience awake - particularly for an event that began shortly after lunch. By comparison, the briefing was pretty much routine. Much of the presentation by senior portfolio manager Paritosh Thakore and vice-president of investment fund services Julia Lee focused on the performance of the Indian economy. While apparently an expert on India, Mr Thakore said he could not at this point divulge his investment strategy for different sectors as the fund would not begin trading for another month. Money Week is by no means trying to undermine the potential of the Indian market. According to data compiled by fund rating agency MorningStar, India equity funds as a category recorded a 61.22 per cent return in the past year. This compares with the 39.36 per cent posted by emerging Europe funds and 32.58 per cent by overall emerging market equity (excluding India). The fund charges a 1.5 per cent management fee and up to 5.25 per cent sales fee, both standard industry rates. What caught our eye was the US$250 minimum investment amount. So, if you have enough confidence in ABN Amro's team of fund managers but are concerned about typical emerging market volatility, this can be a reasonable choice to add to your portfolio given the small amount required. Cultural bandwagon ABN Amro is not alone in borrowing from cultural heritage to enhance its marketing campaign. Bank of Communications, whose parent celebrated its successful Hong Kong listing recently, tried this week to ride on the momentum by launching a series of wealth management services. In keeping with the trend set by other retail banks such as HSBC and Standard Chartered, Bocom deputy general manager Nancy Chan said the bank was turning some of its full-service branches into more upmarket wealth management centres. At the opening ceremony for their first remodelled centre in Central, the bank invited two teams of martial arts experts to perform a lion dance inside the office, presumably to reflect the bank's mainland roots. But Bocom's marketing team had apparently underestimated the event's popularity. Or they did not realise that unlike yoga, you need a lot more space for a lion dance. When the dance began, the more than 50 people gathered at the ceremony, including bank officials, guests and journalists, had to shuffle about constantly to make way for the procession. Equity-linked deposit While some choose a more aggressive marketing strategy, Bank of East Asia has opted for a low-key launch of its latest equity-linked deposit. The Performance Locker Equity-Linked Deposit Series 5 guarantees an 8.5 per cent fixed coupon in addition to extra returns that will be paid when the term matures in two years. The eventual return is linked to the performances of five Hong Kong blue chips - Sun Hung Kai Properties, HSBC, PetroChina, Swire A and Bank of China (Hong Kong).