Triple A Partners and CLSA to seed Asian fund managers

Asia Alternative Asset Partners (Caymans), an Asian alternative fund company known as Triple A Partners, and CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets Group, a financial service provider and institutional research and brokerage houses owned by France's Crédit Agricole, have launched a venture to provide working and seed capital as well as global distribution to Asia-focused alternative fund managers.

CLSA will take a strategic shareholding in the investment holding company of Triple A Partners and help to raise a fund, expected to launch on November 1, that will in turn seed more than 30 new Asian alternative funds over a five-year period.

The managers of each alternative fund will be provided with start-up working capital in return for a minority equity interest in their company, and Triple A Partners will also provide the managers with initial seed capital. The funds will be distributed globally by Triple A Partners' sales force.

'We are extremely pleased to have CLSA as a partner, reflecting the confidence it has in our team of experts in the alternative investment business,' says Triple A Partners chairman Hans Tiedemann. 'As a pioneer and innovative force in developing Asia's financial markets, CLSA can help locate and monitor new investment management talent.'

CLSA's head of broking Jonathan Slone says: 'This partnership reinforces CLSA's commitment to innovative investment strategies and to continuous development of alternative investment funds in Asia. Developing and managing talent that drives growth in the region is at the heart of our business.'

Triple A Partners aims to invest USD150m in the next 12 months with managers in a wide range of investment strategies whose common theme is investing in Asia. Says chief executive Paul Smith: 'New Asian alternative managers often struggle to raise capital as the money sourced from outside the region tends to favour proven managers. Triple A Partners will help access untapped talent and help it to grow.'

CLSA intends to provide each manager with middle and back office services and risk monitoring, while Triple A Partners will distribute the funds to global institutions, including those in the United States and Europe, and provide client relationship management.

Triple A Partners' team of alternative investment experts comprises Tiedemann, Smith and Roger Pyrke, who each have more than 20 years' experience in the investment management industry. The firm has offices in Hong Kong, London and Los Angeles and is planning to open an office in New York shortly.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets provides investment banking, capital markets, equity broking and asset management services, including M&A advisory, equity transactions and public offerings, to global corporate and institutional clients. Alternative asset management is offered through eight Asia-based funds managed by CLSA Capital Partners.

Founded in 1986 as the Asian equity investment banking arm of the Crédit Lyonnais group and headquartered in Hong Kong, CLSA has more than 1,000 professionals located in 13 Asian cities as well as Dubai, London and New York. CLSA's major shareholder is now Crédit Agricole following its 2003 merger with Crédit Lyonnais, although the firm also has substantial staff ownership.

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