Due to government restrictions and social distancing recommendations, all our networking events in Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia are currently on hold. We are monitoring the situation and hope to be able to resume our event schedule soon.
Monthly Archives: October 2020
Former UBS Managing Director Gideon Hyams and automated trading research expert Luke Ferguson are happy to announce the launch of the Ferguson Hyams Multi-Strategy Fund in Australia. The fund officially launched to new investors in mid-August and achieved a positive 1.69% return in its first full month. The fund is managed by Bermuda-registered Incu Capital Management Limited who has appointed FHIM as the fund’s sole investment advisor.
Jason Topaz has left his role as CTO of Horizon Asset International after 11.5 years with the firm. His next career-stop is unknown. He has earlier worked at firms such as JD Capital Management, Long-Term Capital Management and Goldman Sachs.
Former Hillhouse Capital Management partner Vincent Gao has launched Pine Summit. Prior to joining Hillhouse in 2009, Vincent worked at Chinarock Capital, Salomon Brothers Asset Management and Bankers Trust Asset Management.
Silene Lim, who previously worked in marketing and IR in Asia for Dymon Asia Capital and IIFL Capital, has joined CapLink Securities in New York.
Stephen Lukow has been appointed General Counsel Asia ex-Japan at ExodusPoint Capital Management in Hong Kong. He was most recently General Counsel for ExodusPoint in Singapore.
Benjamin Goddard has been appointed as Head of Prime Services – EMEA at Invast Global. Benjamin joined Sydney-headquartered prime broker Invast in 2017. Earlier he worked at Objective Corporation.
Interview: Hiroyuki Yokoyama of Astris Advisory Japan on the launch of its WAPORTA corporate advisory service
HFC’s Stefan Nilsson checks in with Hiroyuki Yokoyama, Head of Corporate Advisory at Astris Advisory Japan, who recently launched the WAPORTA corporate advisory service which connects Japanese investors with innovative companies globally.
What can you tell us about WAPORTA, the new Japanese corporate advisory service launched by Astris Advisory?
WAPORTA (和ポータ) is a matching site where idea-hungry investors, such as corporates, CVCs and VCs in Japan, can meet up with promising and capital-thirsty startups overseas. We strongly believe that there is a huge opportunity bringing the two parties together.
WAPORTA combines a tech platform with the human touch. Has the evolution of technology in recent years significantly changed how corporate advisory services are done?
Yes, slowly but surely. The Covid-19 situation has of course accelerated the way corporate advisory services are being performed. Furthermore, with the creation of the new Digital Agency, implemented by the Suga Administration, the shift towards technology will be even faster. And this technological shift has surely given a smaller player, like ourselves, more opportunities to reach a bigger audience more effectively. However, Japanese corporates still require the personal touch and that is exactly where our expertise comes into play.
What’s your business model? Is it subscription-based or more ad-hoc services?
Yes, it is subscription-based. We would like to create an ecosystem for bridging business between Japan and the globe.
What’s the story behind choosing the name WAPORTA?
The name WAPORTA comes from the combination of WA (和) as a meaning of the concept of culture in Japan and PORTA as a gateway or portal in Latin. We would like to act as the gateway to Japan.
You personally have some three decades of experience in the financial industry (including Macquarie and CLSA) and In the WAPORTA corporate advisory team, you also have my former JP Morgan colleagues David Shirt and Kumiko Namai. How does the team’s long, deep and wide experience translate into a great service for your clients?
Our team is really all about interdependence – David with his many offshore contacts, Kumiko with a huge reach into corporate Japan and myself adding on corporate advisory wherever required. John Byrne is our tech guru on the actual site, running it day-to-day. We are all extremely excited about this opportunity.
Which industries do you see the biggest interest in from investors? Is it all about fintech, biotech and gaming or is it broader than that?
While the biggest interest is in the tech space, 60%+ of investments are tech, it could, of course, be a lot broader. We deal with a broad array of corporates and CVCs where their focus differs widely.
What kind of investors do you work with at WAPORTA?
Corporates, CVCs and some financial investors.
Has the travel and meeting restrictions this year due to the global pandemic increased the need for the kind of services you offer?
Yes, it has helped our business, but we believe that there is a strong structural demand for these services. Huge potential.
As we settle into new working norms, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the financial services industry will forever look different than it did at the beginning of 2020. The future of work for financial institutions looks more virtual than ever, with subject matter experts and employees embracing new platforms, to better team and deliver solutions to solve complex problems. Hedge fund managers in Asia have been navigating significant spikes in transactions and work-from-home orders for several months longer than their counterparts in the Americas and EMEA, resulting in the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives. In a recent survey, we found that APAC is the region with the highest share of firms in the advanced stage of digital transformation implementation, ahead of peers in EMEA and North America. 53% of APAC firms surveyed are in the advanced stage of implementation, and these are most likely the ones to be accelerating transformation during the pandemic, potentially widening the gap on their competitors. For hedge funds, the pressure to mutualise processing functions to gain further efficiencies continues to be a strong trend. It’s been a busy period for Broadridge, with our clients leveraging the versatile, reliable and scalable technology that we provide to a greater extent than ever. Our solutions have proven indispensable in this volatile environment, with new fund managers coming to us as they look to upgrade from lower cost, inflexible providers that are inhibiting their change and growth potential. Of paramount importance is our ability to continue to support our clients through challenging times, and we have taken steps to minimise the risks to our people and clients by applying social-distancing measures and ensuring our employees are equipped to operate effectively from home.
The feedback from clients has been overwhelmingly positive on the maintenance of service and delivery standards. At Broadridge, like many other organisations, we have been asking ourselves what the future of work should look like now that we know we don’t need to be physically together to perform key functions – particularly, our ability to support clients. We recently announced that the majority of our 12,000+ employees globally may work at home until June 2021, and we’re using this opportunity to redesign our office spaces around the globe to be more collaborative – including in Hong Kong and Sydney where we’re working on new bespoke workspaces to open next year. The increasing trend of technology adoption in Asia has undoubtedly been accelerated due to COVID-19, impacting how and where we do business. As we look to the ‘new normal’ FinTech firms like Broadridge are increasingly becoming essential partners for financial services organisations as they look to the future. We are ready to help our clients be successful during these uncertain times and beyond.
Alastair Kelly is Head of International Operations for Broadridge Asset Management Solutions (BAMS). Based in Hong Kong, Alastair manages the BAMS Client Service and Operations teams in Europe and Asia Pacific.
In part 48 of the Hedge Funds Club’s popular people-focused Good Life series of interviews, HFC boss Stefan Nilsson checks in with Allen Wu, Head of Operations at Krypton Fund Services in Singapore for a chat about Coldplay, being too risk-averse, a favourite rustic Italian restaurant and using TikTok for laughs.
From where and how do you get your daily general news updates?
Usually during my daily commute to the office to catch up on news using the apps on my phone, such as BBC, CNN, CNA and Straits Times. The push notifications help a lot to keep me updated on breaking news.
What do you do to unwind on a weekend?
My niece and nephew would visit over the weekends so my time is usually spent playing, or annoying, them. Else, I would usually watch some series or movie available on Netflix or Amazon Prime.
Can you name a great book you have recently read?
“Billion Dollar Whale” by Tom Wright.
Your soundtrack of choice?
I listen to a lot of Coldplay from time to time but on a daily basis, I am usually on Spotify’s “Mood Booster” playlist.
What drink do you start the day with and what drink finishes it?
Always a “Kopi C Siew Dai” which means coffee with evaporated milk with less sugar. I try to keep to one serving of sweetened drinks, so would usually end the day with a glass of water.
What’s the worst money mistake you’ve made?
Not investing at an earlier age and being too risk-averse.
Have you ever had a great mentor and what did you learn?
I have always told my friends that I have been extremely lucky to meet great mentors over the last seven years. But if I have to list one piece of advice, it has to be not being myopic. It’s still something I remind myself of and share with my friends that is applicable in all aspects of life.
What gives you energy?
I enjoy problem-solving and analysing models. Even after a long day, my brain clicks into a transcended gear when I problem-solve or analyse models or problems.
How do you stay grounded and focused as a person in these turbulent and fast-changing times?
I think it’s extremely important to remind myself that I have to continue pushing for improvement and development. I never thought of myself as a smart person, so in order for me to try and differentiate myself from others, I have to thrive to improve to stay relevant.
Can you name a terrific restaurant that you love?
iO Italian Osteria at Hillv2. It’s a rustic Italian restaurant chucked at a corner of the west of Singapore, a hidden gem!
What’s your favourite museum in the world?
I am not a big fan of museums, looking at art pieces or historical artefacts. I prefer to read or watch a documentary about it.
Are you active on social media and what do you actually use it for?
I am active on most social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn. LinkedIn mainly to keep in touch with people and update myself on what’s going on with people in the space. Facebook and Instagram to catch up with my friends. I also go onto TikTok at times to get a good laugh watching the latest trends, which can be silly at times!
Do you have any secret guilty pleasure that you are prepared to reveal here?
I enjoy cooking a lot and I tend to experiment with the recipes, by adding stuff that usually does not go into a particular cuisine in. Some worked out well, some usually end up in the bin.
What kind of battle dress do you normally put on for work?
I tend to dress for the day. I believe that being comfortable is key to productivity so it’s usually a comfortable tee with pants and shoes. When I have meetings then I would aim to look sharp by going formal.
Do you celebrate your wins? If so, how?
Yes of course! Nothing beats celebrating over a good dinner and whiskey.
What makes you happy?
Being around the closest people in my life. It doesn’t have to be an occasion, just spending time together makes my heart full.
Shinichiro Nagai has become Executive Advisor to Visual Alpha, an online investment reporting platform, in Tokyo. Shinichiro, a former Vice Chairman of AIMA Japan, was most recently an Advisor at Russell. His long career has included stints at Shinsei Bank, FRM, GCI Asset Management, Mizuho Securities, Fuji Securities, Fuji Bank and Ministry for Foreign Affairs.