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Japan Advisory faces second penalty charge, US pensions favouring Asia-based global macro managers…

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AXA Private Equity announced this week the opening of its first China office in the country’s capital, Beijing. This continues the firm’s expansion in Asia having opened its first office in Singapore in 2005.

It has since deployed USD1.3billion of capital across the region. AXA Private Equity said the Beijing office would allow it to strengthen relationships with “key private equity market players”. It sees attractive partnership opportunities between Chinese and European companies, and, by leveraging its global reach and diverse European portfolio, AXA Private Equity intends to play a key role in enhancing these potential synergies.

Jenhao Han, Managing Director and Head of AXA Private Equity Asia, is to head up the office and will be supported by Won Ha, Jason Yao and Colin Wang, all of whom previously worked out of the Singapore office. Han commented that by having a China presence it would allow the firm to “further develop our relationships with our Asian counterparties”, adding: “A physical presence in China will enable the team to identify synergies between European and Asian portfolios.”
Dominique Senequier, CEO, AXA Private Equity, said: “Despite the ongoing economic uncertainty, we continue to look to the future with our new Beijing office. Our increasing global visibility and ability to attract new investors…ideally positions us to further capitalise on the significant opportunities for our investors and portfolio companies in China.”

Hedge fund veteran Julian Robertson is to seed a new investment partnership that will focus its strategy on Asian equities
reported Bloomberg this week. Tiger Pacific Capital LP will be headed up by Run Ye, Junji Takegami and Hoyon Hwang, all of whom were senior members of Tiger Asia Management LLC, Bill Hwang’s New York-based hedge fund which shuttered earlier this year. It’s not clear how much seed money is being allocated. Former Tiger Management portfolio managers and analysts who have gone solo to set up their own firms are referred to as “Tiger Cubs” and include the likes of Chase Coleman’s Tiger Global and Viking Global Investors, one of the most successful firms established by Andreas Halvorsen. Earlier this year Adam Leitzes, who helped assess investments for Tiger Management out of Shanghai, established Karst Peak Capital Ltd in Hong Kong.

Tokyo hedge fund Japan Advisory has been hit with a second penalty for insider trading
with Japan’s securities watchdog recommending a USD1,500 fine reported Reuters. The firm is believed to have traded on information gleaned from a research report produced by Nomura Holdings Inc, specifically with respect to a planned fundraising exercise by chipmaker Elpida Memory in July 2011.
The Securities and Exchange Surveillance Commission (SESC) is clamping down on insider trading activity although it is not calling for Nomura to be fined. Apparently, one of Nomura’s employees inadvertently tipped off the hedge fund, something that the firm discovered of its own accord through a voluntary internal investigation.
As the Wall Street Journal reported, Nomura admitted in a statement that there was a “strong possibility” that it was connected to the incident, the brokerage adding: “Nomura continues to fully cooperate with the commission in its investigation”.
Basically, because Elpida’s name had been left out of a sector report – part of an internal rule policy that removes names from research reports of companies due to announce a share offering – Japan Advisory put two and two together and drew the obvious conclusion. It is believed that the brokerage has since implemented improvement measures that include allowing the names of companies preparing a share offering to be included in any such research report.

US pension funds are some of the most aggressive in terms of allocating new capital to global macro strategies, and preference seems to be for home-grown macro managers in Asia reported AsianInvestor this week. Kier Boley, head of equity hedge investments for GAM’s multi-manager business, said that the reason people like them “has been that one of the legs of their trade will be in the region”, noting that some managers had done well through China exposure. Boley said that local managers had been able to capture interest rate movements quicker than, say, US-based macro managers. “In short, local Asian managers have caught the rate-cut trend earlier than others,” Boley was quoted as saying.   

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