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: April 2021
Circle Partners has appointed Mike Pang as its new Head of North Asia Alternative Investments based in Hong Kong. Michael has extensive experience working with alternative investment funds and has been working in the financial services industry for over 16 years.
Allan Bedwick has joined L&R Capital in Hong Kong as COO. He was most recently COO of Valliance Asset Management. Previous roles have included Co-Founder and COO of Guard Capital, Head of Macro Trading, Asia at Noble Group and Founder and CIO of Sequence Asset Management. Prior to relocating to HK, he was based in Tokyo where his employers included Merrill Lynch, Deutsche Bank, Greenwich NatWest and Lehman Brothers.
HFC’s Stefan Nilsson checked in with Mukesh Dave who recently set up Aravali Asset Management in Singapore as the new home for his Global Arbitrage Fund. Prior to launching the fund at Ariana Investment Management in 2014, Mukesh was Managing Partner at Savant Partners, Managing Director and Co-Head of EM Asia Macro Trading at UBS and Head of South East Asia Rates Trading at Barclays. He started his career as a trader at Citi in India, Bahrain and Thailand.
You recently spun out your Global Arbitrage Fund from Ariana Investment Management to manage it from your shop, Aravali Asset Management. What made you strike out on your own?
In the previous asset management company, it was a revenue-sharing agreement with my partner. Since we had a smaller size fund, it was appropriate for me to own it rather than be a working partner. I decided to strike it out to make it more meaningful and give it a direction to a desirable path.
The Global Arbitrage Fund is a market-neutral strategy that trades in a range of arbitrage styles. What can you tell us about how this investment strategy and how it is different from other funds?
We run market-neutral strategies across asset classes, so we are asset class agonistic and geography agnostic. Market neutral strategies have a full spectrum of trades from pure arbitrage to relative value across the marketplace and factor along the time dimension. Given the above characteristics, we run very low volatility of less than two and return ranging between 6%-9% with Sharpe between 3-4.
What can you tell us about the Aravali team? Is it the same team that worked on the fund while at Ariana, or have there been any changes?
It is the same team. We have moved the lock stock barrel from Ariana to Aravali.
What are your personal strengths as a portfolio manager?
The sheer experience of trading emerging markets, especially Asia, and being able to run fixed income arb in the banks I have worked before helps me to mimic a similar trading style here in the fund, as most of the banks have retreated from that space post-2008 GFC under new regulatory environment for capital and risk.
You have opted to base your business in Singapore. What made you choose Singapore over other financial centres?
Firstly, I have been here for the last 13 years working at various financial institutions. Secondly, my previous asset management company had a MAS license here, so we decided to set up and run the similar way with a new CMS license from MAS, which was easy to come by given our history.
Now you are up and running with your own shop for a few weeks. What are the next milestones that you will aim for as a business?
We have an AUM of about US$105 million, and given the limited capacity of the fund, we can only run an AUM of US$350m to US$500m in size, and once we are there, then we can set up a relative value macro fund, which would not be constrained by the overall limit of arbitrage set of opportunities.
HFC’s Stefan Nilsson checked in with Alvin Fan, CEO of OP Investment Management to talk about the future of investor meetings, in-demand investment strategies, China’s role in the hedge fund industry and Hong Kong’s future as a financial centre. OPIM is a leading asset management company based in Hong Kong and a member of the Oriental Patron Financial Group. The company manages both global and Asian-based fund vehicles with expertise across every major regional market from China and Korea, to India and the Middle East. Strategies include traditional long-only, as well as alternatives such as long-short, macro and CTA.
OPIM seems to be going from strength to strength. In which areas of your business have you seen the most growth in recent years?
The demand for expertise in China strategies has not waned. If anything, it’s exceeded our original projections. Despite the political backdrop, we’re seeing more and more institutional investors take the region more seriously and investing in more earnest. Last year was a record year for demand in market neutral quant strategies and this year, it’s rotated back to equity long-biased. We were receiving more requests from mid-sized allocators from multi-family offices to small institutional investors looking to build meaningful exposure. We’re seeing increasing opportunities both to help allocators access through traditional offshore USD denominated Cayman funds and looking forward, through the expanded QFII regime.
Since last year, the global pandemic has had a huge impact on most people and businesses. Obviously, there have been many new and unexpected obstacles appearing, but what good things, if any, have these forced changes led to for OPIM?
I think the move to video conferencing and Zoom is going to be a big positive for business. Even after borders open up, we intend to budget more time for video calls as a supplement to face-to-face meetings. The fact that more clients are comfortable with video calls has really made this possible. This means that we can host less frequent, but more impactful, in-person meetings while existing clients are comfortable with video conferencing. Even our cap intro events are now run entirely virtually, but they’ve been surprisingly productive and well attended. Our next one will be hosted on the week of April 12th. We’ve got 4 breakout managers in the credit and derivatives space. So, check it out!
OPIM has historically had a big connection to Greater China when it comes to investment strategies, fund managers, staff and investors. How do you envision the future of OPIM? Will China continue to play an equally big role?
Naturally, China will be a core source of idea generation, talent and market access for our investors in the coming decade. We are intensely focused on QFII, Greater Bay Area and equally important, cultivating relationships with our mid-sized allocator friends in the US and EU.
You are headquartered in Hong Kong which is facing strong competition from both international rivals as well as financial centres in mainland China. What do you think Hong Kong needs to do to stay ahead and grow as an international financial centre?
I’m a big believer in Hong Kong 3.0. If you count the number of times in the last 30 years where news headlines said, “Hong Kong is Dead”, I’d have enough to retire. I recall the mass exodus in 1997, that came with it a massive change in government structure, much of it seemingly disastrous for the city. And yet, we would come out of the handover as we did out of the Asian financial crisis with incredible growth and new opportunities. I recall expats and older family friends who emigrated in haste but would later return or replaced with financiers and entrepreneurs from other parts of the world – recaptured by the city’s proactive energy. Similarly, after SARS, the influx of mainland talent and innovation not only revitalised the city, but it added a much-needed cross-border cultural lens to bring this city closer to the mainland. The GFC was globally destructive, but in collaborating with the US and EU, China turned on the monetary taps and staved off possibly even more pain, instead supercharging global demand and productivity, and with it, Hong Kong remained incredibly resilient. It was just reported in the SCMP that Hong Kong rebounded to 2nd place behind Nasdaq in global offerings, as record IPOs register new share listings up 9-fold this quarter. GFCI ranks Hong Kong in 4th place behind Tokyo. In every rebound though, there are always those who are left behind, and it’s up to the city’s magistrates and corporate innovators to narrow this divide. If you think about it, this is the very same challenge every financial hub faces but due to the political backdrop, Hong Kong appears more like a clear and present danger rather than a common challenge. In every crisis, Hong Kong was certainly hurt in some fashion, but in every recovery, she’s returned galvanised. Somewhat scathed and certainly changed, each time, her social fabric becomes more textured, complex, and fascinating than before. Always, stronger. So, to my friends who’ve emigrated recently, if history repeats itself, I suspect and hope I’ll see some of them again soon.
Takahiro Yamashita in Osaka has set up Mount, a private wealth manager for UHNWIs in Japan. He was most recently a relationship manager at Nomura and has previously worked at Credit Suisse, Mitsubishi UFJ Merrill Lynch and Kurokawa Kitoku Securities.
Tom Wong, who recently left his position as Head of Portfolio Management at Barclays Funds and Advisory Japan, has joined JP Morgan Mansart Management Japan as its President. Earlier in his career, Tom has worked at EY and Merrill Lynch.
Phelim O’Neill in Sydney has joined Channel Capital as a Distribution Director. He joins from AMP Capital. At Channel Capital, Phelim will manage client relationships with advisers as well as family offices and wholesale investors.
Shigeki Aihara has joined Money Design in Tokyo as the firm’s Chief Strategy Officer. Money Design offers a robo advisory investment management service in Japan. Shigeki has a long history in finance, including two decades at Goldman Sachs and serving as CEO of FGI Capital Partners.