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Hedge funds are hunting for US talents to work in Asia

Hedge Fund Staffing Goes Global
Oct 3 2007
By Jon Jacobs
More alternative investment firms are following in the footsteps of investment banks by going global. That's creating opportunities for professionals with experience in special situations and event-driven investing, and for people with ties to hot Asian markets.

"If somebody can speak Mandarin fluently, it's a nice little ticket," says Alison Seanor, New York-based senior vice president at Glocap Search, a recruiting firm for private equity and hedge funds.

Another recruiter, who asked not to be named, said a fund based in New York is searching for an equity analyst who will work out of its Turkish office, covering emerging markets within Europe, Africa and the Mideast. Another fund, based in Hong Kong, has created an opening in New York as part of building a distressed debt investing business - a sign that hedge fund globalization is also creating jobs in the U.S.

Hedge funds have run global portfolios for many years. What's different now is that more are extending their roots by locating permanent staff in countries or regions beyond their geographic home, headhunters say.

Alternative investment firms are basically mimicking investment banks' global character "because that formula works," says Sanjeev Sharma, a recruiter at Michael Page International. "You have to be on the ground to be able to capture the best ideas, talk to the right people, access the right networks."

Some U.S.-based firms are trawling for people with a Wall Street pedigree to lead moves into China, India, the Middle East or other emerging markets. At the same time, a number of hedge fund companies based in Europe and Asia are expanding their existing operations in the U.S., creating openings here.

Focus on Asia

"In the past year, Asia has been the largest growth area for us," accounting for at least a dozen searches on behalf of U.S.-based fund firms, says Seanor. "It's not just the big Citadels of the world," she adds. Many fund companies managing $1 - 2 billion focus on Asia.

Seanor says the bulk of these openings are concentrated in distressed securities, real estate, or special situations. In late September Glocap was working to fill slots in China, Japan, Australia, and India for U.S. clients operating in the region.

To be sure, some employers recruit local talent when adding headcount in Asia. Local hires cost less, are more familiar with local laws and business structures, and will likely be better connected in their region than an expatriate, says Tom Robson, London-based executive search consultant at Selby Jennings.

But when establishing an initial presence in a foreign market, Sharma says, "There is something to be said for having someone that's trained by the institutional community in the U.S." running the show. A local hire in the top slot will be less marketable than an alumnus of Goldman Sachs or a top private equity firm, he says. "The funds that are branching out are pretty eager to find U.S. talent that's able to go out there and develop the business."

The largest banks in Europe, Japan and the U.S. organized themselves along global lines more than a decade ago. Among the reasons why hedge funds are following suit:

Evolving Portfolio Strategies

Today's most popular fund investment strategies - special situations, event-driven, distressed, and funds that focus on a single emerging market country - involve exposure to relatively illiquid instruments. By their nature, such strategies place a premium on having staff located where portfolio companies have their headquarters or principal operations.

Geography

Traditionally, hedge funds covered emerging markets, and even developed markets, from a distance. But no matter how much jet fuel a London- or New York-based portfolio manager burns visiting portfolio companies, transit time inevitably limits the frequency of trips to Vietnam, China or Indonesia. "But if you're based in Hong Kong, it's just like flying to California" from New York, Sharma says. "You can just do it and fly back home the next day."

Industry Concentration

Hedge fund assets are flowing to the biggest players. As they mature, these behemoths reach a point where they find it cost-effective to adopt a global approach. What's more, a physical presence in a country helps attract assets from local investors.
 
Thanks Andy for this information.
As I am thinking of joining Fe / Fm . In a sub prime hit job market this seems as a silver lining for Asians.

What you do you think, guys...
 
I think there are so much room for the Asian market to grow. Look how many years ahead Wall Street has over Shanghai, Tokyo, Hongkong, etc..

This is just the best time for Asian students to come study MFE, work a few years and go back to Asia with their experience. With their language and culture familarity, it's a huge advantadge special for those from China and India.

I welcome an opportunity to be able to move back to my country and work there as long as I got paid equally or more than I'm here. But we are talking about a few years in the future. Right now, I'm just keeping an eye on how the markets there evolve.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
I welcome an opportunity to be able to move back to my country and work there as long as I got paid equally or more than I'm here. But we are talking about a few years in the future. Right now, I'm just keeping an eye on how the markets there evolve.

Andy, by the way, where are you from? :)


In my case, I'm not sure whether I will be able to move back to Russia even if they pay me enough :) Russia is just so different from the US in many aspects of life, not just money. For example, you need to get used to being harrassed evey day of your life, get yelled at, and that kind of stuff :)
 
Andy, by the way, where are you from? :)
Trivia: what country has the second fastest growing economy in Asia ?
In my case, I'm not sure whether I will be able to move back to Russia even if they pay me enough :) Russia is just so different from the US in many aspects of life, not just money. For example, you need to get used to being harrassed evey day of your life, get yelled at, and that kind of stuff :)
And the mafia, and the fake vodka, and Putin :D
The US obviously has better living conditions in most part of the world but I think the rest of the world is catching up. And there are opportunities in those emerging markets.

it's really personal preference, I believe.
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
Trivia: what country has the second fastest growing economy in Asia ?

Google answer from top sources:

2006 info:

Vietnam's technology market is worth US$800 million today... The country is also Asia's second fastest-growing economy. Last year, Vietnam's economy grew at 8.4 percent, behind China's 10.2 percent.
Top Tech Index 2006 - ZDNet Asia

VIETNAM VROOOOOM...
Asia's second-fastest-growing economy takes the global stage.
Asia's second-fastest-growing economy takes the global stage - November 13, 2006

In terms of World:

Following liberalizing economic reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s, India is now the world's second fastest growing economy, as well as its second most populous.
Document Moved

The marketing slogans wouldn't work if there were no substance behind them. Over the past 15 years, India has been the second fastest-growing country in the world—after China—averaging above 6 percent growth per year.
India: Asia's Other Superpower Breaks Out - Newsweek: World News - MSNBC.com


But also there is Hong Kong, Singapore :)


If China is #1, then it is either India or Vietnam :)
 

Yuriy

MFE Alum
And the mafia, and the fake vodka, and Putin :D
The US obviously has better living conditions in most part of the world but I think the rest of the world is catching up. And there are opportunities in those emerging markets.

it's really personal preference, I believe.

Putin is rather good :) because other people who want to be presidents are not good :)

Vodka is also OK, I can survive without it :)

Mafia is a different question. Actually, it is not mafia but the system that does not protect you if you are making money. So if you are making an extra $$$ you need to install metallic doors, if you are making more than extra, you need a bodyguard :) and so and so and so :)
 

kean

Mathematics Student
Private

You need a private security room, an underground tunnel which links to your private jet, a statelite control mobile phone with modem link to your laptop, a swiss bank account so that you can run away without any problem...

Oh ya, you need to have a few different passports.


By the way, I think Hong Kong is a good place to work They do have good FE program at HKUST. However, this program is rather very mathy. They also accept people who have mathematics major in their undergraduate.

Cheers,



Putin is rather good :) because other people who want to be presidents are not good :)

Vodka is also OK, I can survive without it :)

Mafia is a different question. Actually, it is not mafia but the system that does not protect you if you are making money. So if you are making an extra $$$ you need to install metallic doors, if you are making more than extra, you need a bodyguard :) and so and so and so :)
 
Just saw this on another quant forum for Vietnamese. They posted a job in Saigon that looks interesting enough that I decide to post here. Indochina Capital is one of the biggest foreign funds in VN. The job market in Asia looks pretty promising for anyone thinking about moving back East.


*Investment Career Opportunity in Vietnam*

Title: Director Equity Investments
Reporting: Managing Director and CIO of Equities Division
Commitment: Minimum two years
Salary: US$12,500 monthly net of Vietnam personal income taxes
Bonus: Discretionary each year but highly competitive

*Job Qualifications*

Current or recent MBA graduate with several years experience in private equity, leveraged buyouts, or buy side investment banking. Deal structuring skills are important so a pure public equities asset management skill set will not work. Vietnamese speaking is a plus but not a necessity. However, we will deeply question any candidate’s desire and commitment to move to Vietnam if they do not have a natural tie to the country. MBA and CFA not necessary but all are a plus. Our culture is a young, dynamic, deeply committed and hard working culture. Personality and cultural value fit will play a large role in our decision.

* Job Description

We are looking for a director specializing in fundamental equity investing with deal structuring capabilities. This director would work with our existing team comprised of 4 directors and about 45 staff members (out of over 300 in the firm across all divisions and businesses). Our equity fund management team manages approximately US$600 million in unleveraged equity in the Vietnamese market. It's a long only equity market with deals that fall generally into two spheres. The first is export oriented where we invest in natural resources, agricommodities, acquacommodities, and the manufacturing space. The second and larger category is domestic consumption which includes services, transportation, tourism, retail, consumer products, and food & beverage. Our structures range, in order of frequency, from private equity, state owned privatizing equity, semi-public equity, listed equities, and also foreign-direct investment equity. We are also beginning to see more opportunities for structured products such as convertibles and capital securities.

*About Indochina Capital*

Indochina Capital is one of Vietnam’s leading financial services firms with diversified fund management and financial advisory firms. With US$1.8 billion in funds under management and projects under development, we are one of Vietnam’s largest foreign real estate investors and most active equity investors. In addition, Indochina Capital has a strategic interest in Mekong Securities, a Vietnamese broker-dealer with a particular focus on research.

We manage two private real estate funds under the brand Indochina Land Holdings and a flagship equities fund Indochina Capital Vietnam Holdings which listed on the London Stock Exchange main market in March 2007 as the single largest Vietnam IPO and listing to-date. We are expanding our funds under management in real estate and equities in 2008 and branching into infrastructure fund management and development.

Our Group is comprised of over 300 employees including project and investment teams deployed into projects that we fully control. Our offices are located throughout Vietnam in Hanoi in the North, Danang in the Central, and Ho Chi Minh City in the South.

Indochina Capital was founded in 1999 by Co-Chairmen Peter R. Ryder and Rick Mayo-Smith as a boutique investment and development firm focused on the Indochina Region. These founding partners have been living and investing in Vietnam since the early 1990s and were complimented by the addition of Tung Kim Nguyen as the Group’s third partner in 2002. The resulting 37 years of combined partnership experience and lifelong pursuit of investment and financial services activities have shaped Indochina Capital into one of Asia’s most entrepreneurial and rapidly growing financial services firms focused on Vietnam.
 
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