Simon Hopkins Opalesque Industry Update - Simon Hopkins, who founded Fortune Asset Management and then sold that firm to Close Brothers in 2006, has launched Singapore-based Milltrust International Group, an emerging markets investment platform focused on Asia, Africa, and Latin America.
The firm is on the verge of launching a range of institutionally-focused, managed account-based funds for emerging markets, drawing on the expertise of some of the more established local asset management firms. It is also providing institutional investors with access to pre-screened private equity investments focused on the developing world.
"Our research shows that international investors are looking for locally-based asset management talent as they increase their holdings in the parts of the world that will offer the best growth prospects over the next decade", said Hopkins."Western institutions are still woefully under invested in emerging markets" he said."This is against a backdrop of low growth and fiscal deficits in the West which will last a generation", he added.
Hopkins has assembled a team that includes a number of industry veterans including Louis-Armand de Rougé, formerly CEO of Richcourt Fund Advisors in France, and Mark Ebert, former Chairman of Fortune Group. The advisory board includes David Suratgar, Chairman of BMCE Bank International plc and formerly Deputy Chairman of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell, Robert Sargent, former CEO and long-term veteran of Morgan Stanley Asset Management International, and Singapore-based Christopher Chong, founder of ACH Investments and formerly CEO of HSBC James Capel, Singapore.
Milltrust also announced that it has successfully completed the acquisition of Think Alternative Advisors, a UK-based, FSA-regulated investment advisor run by Alexander Kalis and Eric Anderson.
"Alexander and Eric have accumulated between them close to two-decades of experience working with Asia-focused managers", said Louis-Armand, who will work with the team on manager selection.
Alexander Kalis formerly oversaw Asia for LCF Edmond de Rothschild’s Asian Capital Holdings, one of the biggest fund of funds allocator in the region. He went on to run Banco Santander's Asian fund of funds, before co-founding Think Alternative with Anderson.
Eric Anderson worked for one of the biggest regional hedge funds, Hong Kong-based Ortus Capital, and then led the due diligence efforts on alternative investments at Credit Suisse, before partnering with Kalis last year.
"We saw the opportunity to work with Simon as transformational for our business. It has enabled us to widen our opportunity set to the broader emerging market landscape through the first class list of partners he has brought to the table", said Kalis.
"The platform is inspired as it enables investors in emerging markets to overcome their principal objections to the risks of complex strategies and unfamiliar counterparties by giving them control, transparency and liquidity through a single custodian, which in this instance is State Street, the world's largest", said Anderson. "We believe this could be the answer to the constraints that to date have limited capital flows to the local managers", he added.
Milltrust is in advanced discussions with a number of leading financial institutions in China, India and Latin America, and is expected to announce its partner firms that will advise on the managed accounts in the coming months. The managed account platform is supported by InfraHedge and State Street, and seed capital is being made available by a regional asset consultant.