James Williams, Hedgeweek

Neuberger Berman real estate group hires former Standard Life Investments portfolio manager… Asia hedge funds makes gains of 1.69 per cent in June…

Asian hedge funds returned an average of 1.69 per cent in June according to early estimates by index data provider Eurekahedge. That leaves the average Asian hedge fund up a modest 1.99 per cent for the year and a long way off achieving last year’s returns of +14.91 per cent.

CTA funds were fairly flat in June, up 0.09 per cent to leave them down-1.82 per cent for the first half of 2014. Fixed income returned +0.93 per cent, long/short equities returned +1.73 per cent, whilst event-driven funds returned +3.65 per cent. Fixed income and event-driven funds have delivered a similar level of performance to investors, up 3.87 per cent and 3.73 per cent respectively on a year-to-date basis. 

Neuberger Berman, one of the world’s leading independent investment managers with approximately USD247bn in client assets (as of March 31, 2014), this week announced the expansion of its global real estate securities group with the appointment of Anton Kwang as a senior portfolio manager for the Asia Pacific region. Mr Kwang will be based in Hong Kong.

The Group invests primarily in real estate investment trusts (REITs) which can play an important role in creating a well-balanced portfolio as they provide three important benefits: portfolio diversification, stable income, and total return potential. Kwang’s appointment underscores the importance of Asia’s growing real estate market.
Before joining Neuberger Berman Kwang was the lead Asia Pacific portfolio manager for Standard Life Investments’ global real estate funds. Neuberger Berman manages over USD2bn in real estate securities for institutions and individuals worldwide.

Commenting on Kwang’s appointment, Steve Shigekawa, senior portfolio manager and head of the Neuberger Berman Global Real Estate Securities Group said: “Anton is a highly skilled investor in the Asia Pacific property markets. He will be an important part of our global real estate securities team and will lead our efforts in the region.”

“As a leading global investor, Neuberger Berman is committed to providing clients with investment solutions spanning the asset class spectrum and Anton’s hire reflects our plans to expand the firm’s real estate offerings worldwide,” said Nick Hoar, Head of Asia Pacific.

Investor demand is clear to see with Morgan Stanley confirming that its Asia private equity unit has raised USD1.7bn in its fourth Asia fund reported Reuters this week. The fund will seek out investment opportunities in China and South Korea. Known as Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia IV LP, the fund has outstripped its initial AuM target of USD1.5bn; the same amount it raised for its third Asia fund. It has apparently already made two investments.

The fund, Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia IV LP, has already made two investments from the new fund, and raised more capital than initially targeted, the Wall Street bank said in a statement on Monday. China is a strategic focus for the fund with Chin Chou, CEO of Morgan Stanley Private Equity Asia (MSPEA) being quoted by Reuters as saying: "The last two years in China, we have seen the most attractive entry prices we have seen in the last 10 years.”

Morgan Stanley has committed USD50mn, or 3 per cent, of capital to Fund IV to stay in line with the Volcker Rule. The two deals completed in the fund thus far are in Ssangyong C&B Monalisa in South Korea and Janalakshmi Financial Services in India.

Arcus Investment has hired Shotaro Minami as an analyst according to hedgefundsclub.com. Minami was most recently a researcher and investment adviser at NLI Research Institute prior to which he worked as a wealth management consultant at Nikko Cordial. Arcus Investment is a fund manager that specializes in Japan and has offices in London, Tokyo and Hong Kong. 

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