Monthly Archives: August 2019

Interview: Pauline Chrystal – portfolio manager and pastry chef

Pauline Chrystal

Pauline Chrystal

In Australia, HFC’s Stefan Nilsson stumbled upon a portfolio manager who is also a pastry chef. Stefan couldn’t resist having a chat with Pauline Chrystal, portfolio manager at Kapstream Capital in Sydney, about her somewhat unusual parallel career in investment management and French pastry.


How did you in the middle of a successful career in finance and investments decide to become a pastry chef and launch your French pastry business by Pauline?

 I had worked in finance in France, Hong Kong and Singapore for close to nine years, going through the global financial crisis and very unstable markets, both financial and job markets, with rounds of cost-cutting and headcount reductions making headlines too often. At that time, my husband who is from Sydney wanted to relocate from Singapore to Australia and I saw it as a good opportunity to take a career break.


You have a CFA and an MSc from HEC School of Management, but also a certificate in patisserie from the Le Cordon Bleu Australia-Sydney. Are official qualifications as important in the pastry world as they are in the world of finance?

In any field, I believe experience and hard work always shine through. However, a qualification is a good way to gain credibility when you get started in a field.


Your firm By Pauline specialises in modern and delicate French pastries, breaking away from the traditional sponge and buttercream cakes. Are you on a mission to abolish sponge and buttercream cakes?

Not abolish but give another more modern option, which caters beautifully to current trends from dietary requirements to social media.


How creative are you when it comes to creating pastry? Do you stick to the French traditions or are you adding some Aussie flair to your offering?

 I go with new techniques but try to use local ingredients to the extent possible


From a time-perspective, how do you juggle the two different roles?

I’ve put By Pauline on hold for now. The business was positioned as an artisan handmade pastry catering business. In order to be able to pursue it, I needed to give it full attention, as well as pouring in a significant financial and time investment into hiring and training staff as well as a custom-fitted commercial kitchen. Therefore, I have scaled pastry down to a hobby and am fully focusing back on my PM role.


Are you as passionate about finance as you are about pastry?

Both are fulfilling from a different perspective. Finance definitely has less room for creativity but is very intellectually stimulating. Pastry involves hard labour but the end result is more personally rewarding than seeing one of the companies I cover release solid earnings!

(Aug 2019)

Interview: Grace Reyes, President of The Association of Asian American Investment Managers

Grace Reyes of AAAIM

Grace Reyes of AAAIM

HFC’s Stefan Nilsson had a chat with Grace Reyes, the ebullient head of The Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM), about the importance of diversity, social media and networking.


Tell us about The Association of Asian American Investment Managers (AAAIM) and its mission.

AAAIM is a non-profit organisation promoting ethnic and gender diversity within the investment industry. An official partner to the largest US public pension plans’ emerging manager, diversity and inclusion efforts, AAAIM’s alliance of prominent, successful Asian American leaders includes an expansive network of seasoned and rising investment managers that handle over one trillion in assets under management. AAAIM’s network provides a forum for professionals in the industry to meet, network and create business opportunities. This network continues to grow as AAAIM further engages more people and raises awareness of the organisation and the importance of their mission internationally.


You have a background in alternative investments and finance. How did you end up taking a role leading an industry association?

Prior to AAAIM, I spent time as the Head of Investor Relations & Fundraising at The Reliant Group, a real estate private equity firm with US$2bn in assets under management. I also worked on the corporate and business development team at Switchfly, a travel-tech firm, reporting to the executive suite. What was consistent however across all of my roles was the value of the close rapport I have formed with an array of industry leaders and prominent investors. When the opportunity to lead AAAIM appeared, I realised how valuable those relationships could be to this kind of organisation, as we grow AAAIM’s reach, value and awareness. Being able to share AAAIM’s mission with some of the industry’s best-known investors has been important to our growth as an organisation. I love that I’m able to pull on an important skill set of mine to fuel AAAIM’s future while promoting a mission of gender and ethnic diversity – one that I could not be prouder to represent!


When it comes to diversity and inclusion, do you see any dangers that some firms and people are just talking about it to look good rather than actually trying to build organisations that will benefit from proper diversity?

It’s easy to distinguish the organisations that are truly implementing diversity – those are the organisations that are championing the cause through action and not just furthering a message of diversity. I think it’s an important reminder that leadership take an active role in incorporating the change they are seeking through their own actions.


You are frequently socialising at industry events and you are also very active with social media. Is it part of your strategy to get AAAIM noticed or is it just the way you are?

I am social by nature! On the side, I’m also the Founder and Co-Host of goodtimesSF, San Francisco’s largest investment networking happy hour. I absolutely love meeting, networking and getting to know diverse individuals across our field. I also believe that being vocal about what we do at AAAIM is critical to our success. It’s important that people know who we are and what we represent. LinkedIn has been a natural venue to spread AAAIM’s message further through my own activity on this channel. It has been a great tool to reach new and greater audiences.


You founded investment-industry drinking club goodtimesSF a decade ago. What made you take that initiative?

As the head of fundraising for a private equity group, I was always out networking and wanted to find a more efficient way to connect with industry leaders and investors without having to go out every night. I decided to host happy hour events to bring people together and called it goodtimesSF because I think networking should be something fun! The group took off and grew to become the largest investment happy hour in San Francisco. Co-hosting these events connected me to some amazing individuals that have been pivotal to my career.


If you hadn’t worked in the investment industry, what would you have been doing as a career?

I grew up from humble beginnings and remember watching “Pretty Woman” in my youth. I was fascinated with Richard Gere’s career. It was my first exposure to how private equity works and from that point, I knew from this young age that I wanted to work in finance! This makes it hard to think of any other career path. But as I have been travelling all over the world, I wouldn’t mind being a professional jet-setter – is there such a role that exists?

(Aug 2019)

News: The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index

The Eurekahedge Hedge Fund Index was up 0.62% in July, bringing its year-to-date return to 6.48%. Roughly 30.8% of hedge fund managers in the index have recorded double-digit gains over the first seven months of the year. The Eurekahedge Greater China Hedge Fund Index gained 0.51% in July, bringing its year-to-date gain to 10.37%. Investor confidence in the US$28.4 billion mandate remained robust with US$0.9 billion of net inflows recorded in 2018, despite the US$2.3 billion performance decline over the same year.

Interview: Daniel Rootes of Spark Plus on bringing Australian companies to Asian investors



Daniel Rootes

Daniel Rootes


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:

(Aug 2019)