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Hedgeweek’s Asia Alternative Investment Summary

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Cosmo founder to leave firm
Cosmo Investment Management, the South Korean arm of SPARX Group Co., Ltd., has confirmed that its founder, Kevin Choi, is to leave the firm. Choi has carved out a reputation as a leading Korea equity long/short specialist, turning Cosmo into one of South Korea’s largest independent advisory firms. Choi was unavailable to comment.

Boyer Allan launches UCITS Asian L/S fund
Boyer Allan, the London and Hong Kong-based Asian equity shop with USD800 million in assets, has rolled out its first UCITS-compliant fund on the Merrill Lynch platform. Hot on the heels of a long-only China-focused fund launched in March, the MLIS Boyer Allan Asian Long Short Fund opened to public subscription on June 11 in what Boyer Allan’s CEO, Roger Denby-Jones, described as “both an offensive and defensive move”. “The fund is currently up 3.5% and holds 80 positions in large cap listed companies,” continues Denby-Jones. Using the MSCI APAC benchmark, the fund aims to reach USD100 million within the next year. 

 
New CEO for Pacific Alliance
Hong Kong-based Pacific Alliance Group, which manages USD5 billion in alternative investments, has brought in Weijian Shan, a top private equity dealmaker in China, as group chairman and CEO. Shan joins from TPG Asia where he recently helped push through the firm’s exit from Shenzhen Development Bank Co. – a deal which secured TPG USD1.25 billion. Shan declined to comment on his new role.   
 
Asian investment in alternatives set to climb
A Russell Investments survey released this week indicates that alternative investments made by Asian investors are expected to climb from 11% to 17% by 2012. That should be music to the ears of Asian fund managers. With the EU’s AIFM directive (specifically the “third country” rules) looming ominously on the horizon, targeting regional and US-based investors is likely to become a more pertinent strategy in Asia over the next few years.       
 
Ignis goes bullish on Japan
Ignis Asset Management’s Simon Mungall has adopted a bullish stance on Japan equities, taking overweight positions in three long only Japan funds owned by the UK-based firm: GLG Japan Core Alpha Equity fund, Schroder Japan Alpha Fund, and Melchior Japan Opportunities Fund. “Real growth is driven by education, technology and trade. Japan is good at all these things, and their importance is reasserting itself in the eyes of investors,” explains Mungall. He sees Asian markets being successful in the long term, particularly those with political accountability and the ability to generate real growth, citing India as a stand out candidate. “We are cautiously positioned in Asian equities at present, on general macro concerns,” adds Mungall.     
 
J.P.Morgan prepares to increase fund admin activity in Asia
Adam Wallace has joined J.P. Morgan Hong Kong as executive director and product head of its hedge fund administration service in Asia as the bank looks to ramp up activity. The US firm believes the market is growing, with ever-more sophisticated funds being launched, and the hire of Wallace looks set to be just the start. Speaking about his key aims for 2010 via email, Wallace says: “At a high level, my focus will be to continue building on the strong momentum, working across the hedge fund spectrum – from high-potential start-up funds to established local and global players.” In response to the AIFM directive and any trends being observed Wallace goes on to say that “for Asian investors UCITS is seen as an attractive alternative to “traditional” hedge funds due to improved liquidity, but we’re not seeing this demand so much from institutional investors.”
 
Jane Street Capital looks set to land in Hong Kong
New York-based quant prop trading firm Jane Street Capital is set to put down its footprint in Hong Kong, having leased a large prime office space in the city. Nobody was available for comment at the time of writing.
 
A round-up of this week’s investment industry launches and developments in Asia
 
 
 

 

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