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Hans Schlaikier, Hedgeweek

Son-in-law of China Vice Premier sets up Hong Kong based fund… Skandia boosts Singapore sales team…

Nicholas Tsang, the son-in-law of China's Vice Premier Wang Yang, has launched a Hong Kong-based hedge fund focused on mainland equities. Zhang joins a growing number of young family members of top officials who have set up asset management businesses in the city of late.

South China Morning Post reports that Nicholas Zhang, who married Wang's only daughter some years ago, started Magnolia Capital Management this year with some of his former colleagues from the Hong Kong offices of Soros Fund Management and UBS, said sources familiar with the situation who declined to be named.

Zhang, now in his late 20s, worked briefly for Soros Fund Management in Hong Kong, the Asian arm of US billionaire George Soros' investment empire, after leaving UBS as a Hong Kong-based junior investment banker. His ambition to run his own fund took root during his time at Soros Fund, said the sources.

"Nicholas is a co-founder of the new hedge fund, together with friends and ex-colleagues in the financial industry he has known for a long time," said one of the sources.

Zhang and his team "raised tens of millions of US dollars" in just a few months for initial capital, said another SCMP source. It is not known how much money the company raised. Zhang could not be reached for comment.

Hong Kong’s market regulator has abandoned the chance to pursue a criminal case against US-based hedge fund Tiger Asia Management by launching formal civil proceedings on market abuse allegations from almost four years ago.

The Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission said there was a significant risk that criminal charges would be blocked in Hong Kong after the hedge fund and two of its principals were prosecuted by the US on related charges late last year.

Tiger Asia, which was set up by protégés of Julian Robertson, one of the world’s best-known hedge fund managers, was accused of insider trading in the shares of China Construction Bank and Bank of China in 2009.

The SFC gets one shot at punishing wrongdoing. Once it has kicked off civil proceedings, Hong Kong legislation bars the regulator from ever launching a criminal prosecution – and vice versa.

The fund faces a range of potential punishments from the civil Market Misconduct Tribunal. It can prohibit a person from dealing in securities, futures contracts or leveraged foreign exchange contracts in Hong Kong for up to five years.

The Court of Final Appeal, the city’s highest court, backed the regulator at the end of April, by saying it could use a civil court order to freeze some of the fund’s assets and ban it from trading in the city – even though misconduct has not yet been proved.

Tiger Asia has consistently denied the allegations in Hong Kong. However, in December, it pleaded guilty to insider trading in CCB and Bank of China in a federal US court and reached a settlement with US regulators, paying $60m in fines.

The SFC has instituted proceedings against Tiger Asia itself and three of its officers – Bill Sung Kook Hwang, Raymond Park and William Tomita. The fund and all three individuals are accused of jointly or severally engaging in market misconduct in the form of trading on inside information they received after giving undertakings they would not trade.

The US-based Hedge Fund Association, a nonpartisan industry body aimed at increasing transparency and trust in alternative investments, has established an Australian chapter.

The lobbying organisation's membership includes hedge funds, funds of funds, family offices, high net worth individuals and service providers.

In the US, the HFA has chapters in the Northeast, Southeast, Midwest and on the West Coast and has expanded internationally with chapters in Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Cayman Islands.

The HFA offers discounted access to global conferences, opportunities to contribute to relevant policy, lobbying and regulatory matters, access to global industry leaders and the opportunity to display the HFA's logo on firms' documentation.

The industry body is currently planning an inaugaral Australian event to be held in the second half of the year, and is also interested in receiving suggestions from Australian industry participants as to what services they would also like the HFA to provide.

Skandia International, the offshore business of Old Mutual Wealth, has strengthened its sales team in Singapore with the appointment of two new sales managers.

The addition of Jammine Soh and Huw Wedlock will enable Skandia International to develop and expand its distribution footprint with key partners and support its growth strategy in Southeast Asia.

Soh has been appointed to build on the domestic financial adviser distributor base, matching Skandia’s open architecture expertise with the increasingly sophisticated demands of South East Asian investors and their financial advisers. She joins from Zurich International where she spent seven years as a sales manager. Soh has an in depth knowledge of the local Singapore financial adviser market and very strong strategic relationships with key domestic financial adviser firms in Singapore.

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