Singapore Hedge Fund

Alternative asset management in Singapore

Recruitment starting again for hedge funds based in Singapore and Hong Kong.

From, some good news on Asian Hedge Funds with new activity noted in Singapore and Hong Kong. The dark days may at last be over for Asia’s hedge fund sector, but recruitment is still selective, senior and sales-focused, with a real recovery not expected until next year.

Hedge funds are making a minor comeback after suffering their worst year on record in 2008, outperforming global benchmarks and experiencing an inflow of new assets, according to data provider Eurekahedge.

Asia has experienced a lot of the recent action. Winton Capital Management, for example, is starting a new fund in Japan and hiring staff in Hong Kong – its expansion coming just months after rivals like GSO Capital Partners, HBK and Ramius retreated from the region.

And ex-bankers are seizing the opportunity to start up their own firms in Asia. The list of budding fund managers includes: Nick Taylor, ex-head of Citadel Investment’s principal investments business in Asia and Europe; Shafiq Karmali, a former Goldman Sachs trader; and Edwin Wong, previously a Lehman Brothers MD.

Hedge fund recruitment is for now small-scale and focused on the front office. Jared Ng, regional consulting director, PeopleSearch explains: “Because short-term revenue is essential for the survival of companies to meet their short-term liability, revenue-generating jobs are more in demand. As a result, there have been more openings for sales positions.”

Peter Douglas, Asia Pacific council member for the Alternative Investment Management Association, says funds want experienced professionals who can hit the ground running. “In Singapore, Artradis, for example, has been taking on some senior people, basically taking advantage of a cyclical opportunity to add talent that’s now available,” he adds.

Funds that have not been so badly affected by the financial crisis are starting to recruit again after lying low for the past nine months, says Angela Kuek, manager, banking and financial services at Hudson in Singapore.

Douglas thinks the current fund inflows in Asia are coming mainly from specialist investors. The “real volume” is likely to return next year when more capital enters the market. “Asset size directly drives revenues and therefore the capacity and inclination to hire,” he adds.

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Martin Currie Investment Management is reported to be about to launch an Asian marketing office in Singapore

martincurrieFrom the Hedge Funds Club, Edinburgh-based Martin Currie Investment Management is launching an Asian marketing office in Singapore. The firm also plans to add a dealing desk in Singapore in the coming year.
The Hedge Funds Club

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AIMA Singapore: Draft European Directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers could significantly impact Singapore’s hedge funds

From Opalesque, some potentially bad news for hedge funds in Singapore.   The Singapore Branch of the Alternative Investment Management Association (“AIMA”), the industry trade association for hedge funds, warns that the European Commission’s draft directive on Alternative Investment Fund Managers will make it unduly difficult for Singapore based alternative investment managers to access the European market. The directive will also complicate the allocation of a global portfolio’s fund management, making the delegation from Europe to Asia near impossible.

Under the directive, managers based outside of Europe will need to obtain a special marketing passport before being granted access to the European market. However, the passport will not be available for three years after the introduction of the directive. Significant obstacles to acquiring the passport will also be imposed; regulatory equivalence between Europe and the applicant’s home jurisdiction will need to be established, key criteria include comparable prudential legislation, equal access to markets, and a tax information-sharing agreement. Capital requirements and leverage restrictions will also need to be implemented. Local regulations will need to be effectively adjusted in manners outside current discussion in international regulatory forums.

The proposed directive will apply to all types of “non-UCITS funds”, including private equity, real estate, infrastructure, and hedge funds.

Michael Coleman, the Chairman of the Singapore branch of AIMA, commented: “The effect, if not the intent, of this directive is highly protectionist. If it is left unchanged it will have a major negative impact on the hedge fund industry in Singapore, which has a large European component to its investor base. Also, it will have negative consequences for European investors who will find their choice of investment opportunities severely restricted. ”

This will have an adverse impact on Singaporean investors with European funds or managers. Due to the restrictions imposed, compliance costs will increase and returns will lessen. European investors will also suffer from the higher costs passed on to them and face a diminished investment universe.


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Singapore keeps top spot in expat survey, HK slips

Good news for the weekend from Reuters for those living in Singapore.  It has retained its status as the best location for expatriates in Asia while Hong Kong has fallen behind Tokyo because of bad air pollution, an annual survey released on Wednesday shows.

Singapore was ranked the best location for the 10th straight year, followed by Japanese cities Kobe, Yokohama and Tokyo, according to the survey by London-based ECA, which ranks cities by climate, air quality, health services, housing and personal safety, among other categories.

“Good infrastructure and healthcare facilities, low crime and health risks, and decent air quality contribute to Singapore providing the best quality of living for Asian assignees,” said Lee Quane, Asian director of ECA International, which advises on expatriate packages and allowances.

The survey aims to help companies establish expat allowances. Companies may be seeking to slash expat packages during the global economic downturn but ECA said only a handful of cities in Asia offer expatriate staff a good standard of living.

Most of the 49 Asian locations ranked remain challenging for one reason or another, and therefore, warrant high location allowances, it said.

Top 12 Asian locations for expatriates: (last year’s rankings in brackets)

1. Singapore (1)

2. Kobe, Japan (2)

3. Yokohama, Japan (3)

4. Tokyo (5)

5. Hong Kong (4)

6. Taipei (6)

7. Macau (7)

8. Kuala Lumpur (9)

9. Bangkok (8)

10. Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia (9)

11. Shanghai (11)

12. Seoul (12)


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US authorities are probing NIR Group hedge fund based in US/Singapore says WSJ

Reuters has reported that, according to the Wall Street Journal, the U.S. authorities are probing whether Corey Ribotsky, Managing Member of NIR Group, a New York & Singapore based hedge-fund, defrauded investors about their returns and the holdings of his various funds, citing people familiar with the matter.

The people told the paper that prosecutors from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn are looking at whether Ribotsky lied to investors as stock prices fell during the credit crisis. The paper said the authorities have not accused Ribotsky of wrongdoing. Ribiotsky has said he has $770 million under management.

Ribotsky’s lawyer declined to comment to the paper, saying the hedge fund manager and NIR “have no knowledge of any criminal investigation and have not been contacted by any authorities.”  Spokesmen for the SEC, FBI and U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment to the paper.


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Goodyear will not be Temasek's next CEO

Singapore government investment fund Temasek said Charles W. Goodyear won’t take over as chief executive because of differences in strategy, a surprising reversal that leaves the wife of the prime minister in the company’s top job.

Goodyear, who had been working alongside outgoing chief executive Ho Ching since March, will leave the sovereign wealth fund next month, Temasek said in a statement Tuesday.

Temasek in February named Goodyear, a former chief executive of the world’s No. 1 mining company BHP Billiton, to take over on October 1 from Ho. The wife of prime minister Lee Hsien Loong had headed Temasek since 2004 and announced her resignation days before the fund said it lost $39 billion, or 31 percent of its assets, between March and November last year.

In tightly controlled Singapore, the appointment of Goodyear, an American, had been seen as a sign that the government was loosening its grip and acknowledging the need for specific expertise from abroad. Now just five months later, that experiment appears to have been derailed.

“It’s embarrassing for sure,” said David Cohen, an economist with consultancy Action Economics in Singapore. “This isn’t the way they normally operate here. Professionalism has been the rule.”

Temasek said the decision to part ways was in its and Goodyear’s interests.

“The Temasek Board and Mr. Goodyear have concluded and accepted that there are differences regarding certain strategic issues that could not be resolved,” the fund said in a statement.

Making the move even more unusual was the long vetting process Goodyear went through before accepting the job.

Goodyear, who has a masters of business administration from the Wharton School of Finance, University of Pennsylvania, said in February he had been in talks with Temasek for the previous 15 months.

“Surprising is the word,” Cohen said. “He was about to command a substantial portfolio. You wouldn’t think he’d walk away from that very easily.”

Temasek’s investments were worth $84 billion as of Nov. 30.

Ho, who has a master’s degree in electrical engineering from Stanford University, said in February she would step away from the day-to-day operations of the fund.

“Chip brings capabilities that I don’t have,” Ho said at the time. “I don’t see myself as needing to direct it (Temasek) in any way.”

Singapore’s Ministry of Finance is Temasek’s only shareholder. The company, which is smaller than the city-state’s other sovereign wealth fund, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp., owns large stakes in many of the country’s biggest companies, including Singapore Telecommunications and Singapore Airlines.

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Most hedge funds failed to make money in June

From Reuters, Singapore.  Most strategies employed by hedge fund managers globally failed to generate positive returns in June as stock markets moved sideways and commodity prices slid during the month, according to estimates from Lipper on Tuesday.

The best-performing hedge fund strategy was “convertible arbitrage” which returned 0.28 percent, while the worst-performing strategy was “managed futures” which lost 1.59 percent. Long/short equity hedge funds declined 0.23 percent.

Overall, nine of the 13 strategies tracked by Lipper lost money last month.

“Managed futures managers were hit in June by the lack of a clear trend as intra-month volatility spikes resumed across a number of asset classes,” Lipper’s global head of hedge fund research Aureliano Gentilini said in a report.

Commodity prices fell in June, with the Reuters/Jefferies CRB Index .CRB declining 1.22 percent, as gains in industrial metals and energy were offset by losses in agricultural, soft commodities and precious metals, said Lipper, a unit of Thomson Reuters.

Hedge fund managers have come under increased scrutiny since last year due to their failure to generate positive returns in bear markets as they are supposed to, resulting in outflows from the industry. Many observers say, however, that withdrawals are easing and managers could see inflows before the end of 2009.

Strategies used by managers include arbitrage, which typically involves exploiting different valuations of what is essentially the same underlying security such as the price of a stock and its price in the forward market.

Managed futures traders, on the other hand, focus on trading futures contracts in areas such as metals, grains, stocks and currencies.


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Singapore Offshore Banking

Here is a good piece I found on about law, regulation and banking in Singapore…

Singapore has double taxation treaties with more than 40 countries, including Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. . This makes it an interesting place to set up a holding company. . A European entrepreneur who brings his business in a Singapore holding company can enjoy a much more favorable tax regime.. The cost of setting up a company in Singapore soon amount to several thousands U.S. $.  Singapore is located in the heart of Asia, and is the largest banking center in the region. The infrastructure is among the best in the world with digital telecommunications, and a world class airport.  The banking laws are strict and Singapore is a huge success as a center for offshore funds. The regional property market relies more and more in Singapore. thanks to a good legal high skilled labor and tax benefits.  Trusts are less in use, but Singapore would change and offshore trusts are not taxed. In 2003, the tax reform, new tax incentives for investment funds, insurance companies and damage the futures market.  The business tax was reduced as both simplified and tax abolished. A real business transaction, however, settled by means of shares, is normally charged. Singapore also known wealth, customs duties, stamp tax and social contributions. The number of disks for personal income tax was reduced from 10 to 7, and the highest disc is dropped to 20%.  Company tax was 1% down to 32%. The government estimated the cost of these measures in more than 600 million singapore dollars. tax system operates on a territorial basis, meaning that income from offshore investments that are not returned to Singapore, are not taxed.

Companies in the financial sector also enjoy tax exemptions or lower rates for offshore. Banks and insurance companies pay scale 10% tax on offshore activities instead of 32%, except for life insurance. Also custom switching trust companies and trade in bonds enjoy the lower tax regime, and there are tax incentives for their data processors.  Interest on loans from foreign banks and companies can be deduced. In some years, the number of hedge funds in Singapore tripled. Eighty percent of the investment in a hedge fund should come from outside Singapore to qualify for tax exemption. . Managers of a hedge fund are taxed at 10% of their fee. Leaders in the sector, the government asked those rules ensuring a favorable climate for hedge funds to continue to insure. Since 2004, international investment funds no longer required to have an office in Singapore.  They can do business through a bank. Managers of more than S $ 5 million, for a period of five years exempt from tax on their fees. If the activities of the fund in Singapore to grow enough, this period for another five years. Tax on profits of the fund can be deducted from the 20% of dividends paid to shareholders are taxed. Gains made by financial firms for their clients are in many cases tax. Singapore’s competitors in the field of financial services in the region, Tokyo and Hong Kong, where rents the highest in the world. Singapore hopes some of their customers to attract a lower price. It was in this context that the government decided to make an exception to the territorial tax principle and the advantage as long as parties are foreigners, trusts completely exempt from tax.

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Tribridge To Launch New pan-Asia Hedge Fund

Tribridge Investment Partners Ltd., a Hong Kong-based hedge fund manager, said Monday it will launch a new fund in August and hired John Liptak, former head of Bank of America Corp’s Asia special situations group, to run it.

The new fund will have a pan-Asia focus and seek to identify mispriced or undervalued securities due to financial stress, some corporate event or other special situation. It will be biased toward large-cap companies in more developed markets in the region such as Hong Kong, Australia, Korea, Singapore, or Japan.

“I believe that the opportunities from the upcoming default cycle have not been seen since shortly after the Asian currency crisis back in 1997-1998,” Liptak said in prepared remarks.
Citigroup. is the fund’s prime broker and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. is the administrator. Tribridge, founded in 2003, has US$259 million in assets under management in four different funds including a Korea multi-asset fund and three credit funds.

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Hedge Funder, Mobster… a wife's misery…

There has been some serious financial meshugas as of late, has there not? In short order, the bond rating agencies, banks, treasury, hedge funds, Federal Reserve and aggressively optimistic (and greedy) homeowners conspired to play Jenga with the house of cards that the American (world) economy was (is) perched upon. But it was really (says this guy) only a few Gordon Geckos that got us to this point. But what about their families?

When it comes time to pay the piper, Bernie Madoff’s family may not get off any easier than the Gottis got (though they may not land a spiky-haired reality TV gig). I read a good book once that said the sins of the father were visited on the son but made no mention of what the wife catches. Presumably, by hook or by crook, she visits whichever hell, heaven or purgatory that the husband earns.

And there is precedent for that in our justice system. It turns out that lots of guys (fraudsters, book-cookers and racketeers, inclusive) confide in their wives. Maybe misery loves company and maybe some shameful burdens are too much to shoulder alone. Whatever the case, Andy Fastow (CFO of Enron) shared enough criminal information with his wife Lea that it cost her a year of her liberty. Technically, she was jailed for failing to report kickbacks on their joint tax returns but it was largely a message move by government.

So, when does spousal immunity kick in? A court case in the 80’s solidified that the right NOT TO testify against a spouse was intrinsic to the 5th Amendment (i.e. you can choose not to testify against yourself or your husband). The right to remain silent, however, doesn’t preclude someone for getting slammed as an accessory (after the fact).

And what about, say, Ponzi-meister Bernie Madoff’s wife Ruth Madoff? There are a few laws enacted to punish people on the receiving end of ill-gotten gains. Whether these gains are fur coats purchased from a Lufthansa Heist or houses in Boca built from pyramid scheme cash, it can all go away quicklike. Some of the time, these laws apply to the unwitting beneficiaries in a Ponzi Scheme or any other rip-off money-maker (see fraudulent conveyance and RICO statutes).

According to the International Herald Tribune a few people are skeptical that she couldn’t have known what was going down. The Madoffs were thick as thieves and these few people don’t think that Mr. Madoff, necessarily, kept his own counsel exclusively. She’s probably on the up and up.
Even Samuel Israel’s gal, Debra Ryan, is caught up in the guilt by association. In addition to helping Israel fake his death, she recently tried to smuggle some cash into the ex-hedge funder, per the New York Times. (And Regina Granato smuggled her mobbed-up husband Kevin Granato’s sperm out of federal custody per Babble.) You may remember Israel as the one who scrawled the theme song from MASH, “Suicide Is Painless,” on his truck overlooking a precipice to avoid jail time.

What’s the moral of the story? Is it, ask lots of questions? Is it, don’t ask any questions? Or is it, don’t marry hedge fund guys or mobsters?

Any first hand experience out there with catching heat for a husband living ‘neath the law?

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