HFC’s Stefan Nilsson caught up with Spark Plus’ Daniel Rootes in Australia ahead of the first Sydney Hedge Funds Club event which will take place on 10th September. Spark Plus provides listed companies access to accredited investors across the Asia Pacific region.
Spark Plus opened its first Australian office last year. How is it going so far?
It has been great. We have been very busy marketing the services to local corporates. We are based in Nedlands, Perth. We share an office with JP Equity and also have Tim Young who represents us out of Melbourne for East Coast exposure.
Have you seen good uptake on your service of bringing listed Australian companies to meet with hedge funds and other investors in Asia?
The Australian office has been looking to take quality companies to Asia to ensure investors that there is plenty of upside if they do choose to invest. To date, I have worked with approximately 12 corporates and the second half of the year looks promising as well.
Are you also looking at bringing non-Australian corporates to meet funds and investors in Australia?
This is something we can do if they are looking to list on the ASX. This would be through the assistance of JP Equity Partners.
Your Australian office is in Perth which is relatively close to your headquarters in Singapore. However, it is rather far away from Sydney and Melbourne. Is that an issue or is it easy to cover all of Australia from your current location?
We have Tim Young based in Melbourne with 20 years’ experience in institutional sales in Hong Kong. I am also originally from Country NSW and lived in Sydney for eight years, so I get to Sydney every, or every second, month. It’s not really an issue as the ASX community is quite small and there is always a range of events in which we can attend to catch up with corporates.
Have you been focused on specific sectors or have you seen companies from many different industries doing non-deal investor roadshows into Asia?
I have focused on particular themes to suit investor demand but at the same time working with a diverse range of clients. Themes include healthcare medical technology, financial technology, gold, salt and potash and waste-water management. We certainly do not want to be seen promoting three similar stocks at any given time as investment results differ. However, Spark Plus do run sector-focused investor days in both Singapore and Hong Kong which receive big traction.
What has been the biggest challenge with launching Spark Plus in Australia?
I guess the biggest challenge is educating companies on the types of investors in the Spark Plus network. The biggest point of difference is that we profile the investors to ensure companies they are speaking with the right people for potential investment. At times companies expect investment straight away which may not be the case. But if we can market the company to family offices and hedge funds and the company delivers on their goals and objectives, they have eyeballs on the company and could well see sizeable investments on the market.
Spark Plus is one of the event sponsors of the first-ever Sydney Hedge Funds Club event which will take place on 10th September. What’s brewing in the Australian hedge fund industry?
Good question. I think with the XJO (ASX 200) having recently hit all-time highs, the Australian hedge funds are keeping a close eye on the trade war outcomes. I will certainly be looking to chat with some of the funds around the gold sector as we are seeing record gold prices as well.
For more information on Spark Plus, please visit: www.sparkplus.org