As the markets throughout southeast Asia continue to deliver strong performance—stunning returns averaging 31% a year over the past five years—they are creating more affluent investors and appealing to investment managers around the world, The Financial Times reports. For fund companies that have already extended operations in China and Japan, the region is fertile hunting ground, said Shiv Taneja, the Asia head of Cerulli Associates.

“Southeast Asia has tended to have a justifiably bad reputation because of market volatility, political instability and a willingness to take the nationalistic view at the drop of a hat,” Taneja said. “However, the wealth that is being created has become too hard to ignore.”

In fact, locally domiciled mutual fund assets are up 155% from $27 billion in 2002 to $69 billion at the end of 2006. In fact, the boom extends throughout Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, South Korea and Taiwan.

However, to put the assets in perspective, they are but a mere fraction of the total $1.2 trillion Asian mutual fund market.

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