Sun, Apr 20, 2014
A A A
Welcome Guest
Free Trial RSS
Get FREE trial access to our award winning publications
Asia Pacific Intelligence

Maples brings multi-national and multi-jurisdictional approach to Asian fund business

Thursday, December 05, 2013

News came this month that the Maples group is expanding its presence in the Asia Pacific region with the launch of the full service administration offering of MaplesFS in Singapore.

The new fund services office is headed up by Eastern Fong, regional head of fund services – Asia, while the new Maples Fiduciary in Singapore will be under the leadership of Hugh Thompson, Global Co-Head of Fiduciary.

Fong explained that Maples arrived in Asia with the opening of an office in Hong Kong in 2006, which has grown from zero to staff numbers of 45 and had been looking to expand further in Asia. "Hong Kong is a different market from Singapore" he explained in an interview with Asia Pacific Intelligence. "In Hong Kong you see a flow of mainland Chinese-based institutions and hedge fund firms, but you also have private equity business from South East Asia, family offices and wealth managers who typically have Singapore as their preferred jurisdiction."

Maples sent in Kate Colchester, business development expert in the region, who found that the firm should be in Singapore as well. Singapore famously loves the UCITS structure but it's not the primary focus of the new office, given that the firm has offices in Dublin and Luxembourg to deal with UCITS products. "In Singapore the main drive is not UCITS but family offices, private equity, private wealth managers" Fong says. "With Kate Colchester on the ground we have been able to build up a solid pipeline of business and in early October we closed our first Singapore domiciled fund with a sovereign wealth manager."

The firm dealt with Singapore through its original Hong Kong office so it is not an entirely new experience for them being there. "We do see a strong pipeline coming from private equity and family offices and we do see the hedge fund as still a stable flow of opportunities but we are not just doing Cayman funds in Singapore but also Singapore domiciled funds" Fong explains.

Hugh Thompson explains that the fiduciary service in Asia has been slowly building, largely accelerated by the increase in regulation post global financial crisis. "We had a small client base in Asia, primarily down to the fact that Asian clients are cost conscious and there was not much of a focus on the value of placed on whatthe role of independent directors can bring to offshore entities" he explains.

"Where people needed to have independent directors they tended to use friends and families but since the crash the governance debate that is common in Europe has started in Asia. In Hong Kong the typical board used to be friends or family going to Macau for the weekend for a board meeting" Thompson says.

"There is now a governance argument whichfocus means that all big allocators look at all of a fund's service providers and we are used to a rigorous due diligence exercise on potential directors which is now happening in Asia which means that fees are going up as client and investor expectations rise. The risk/reward of being a director shouldn't be affected by where you are and it shouldn't affect the fees."

Thompson believes that Maples should be in Asia. "We are a very client led major institution" he says. "We weare increasingly seeing hedge fund managersglobal clients  inwith operations around Singapore and increasingly having to say: ‘No we can't help you with certain services.' So that's how we've come to be here."

Thompson and Fong believes that they are partly selling Cayman services from Singapore but also at the same time seeing a growth in use of Singapore entities as people move away from Mauritiusto better quality jurisdictions in a flight to quality.
The big regulatory issues such as FATCA and AIFMD that have are impactinged Maples and its clients and may helpenabled them to build theira book in Asia include FATCA and AIFMDdue to the in-house expertise from the global business. "It's the nature of  a fiduciary business that if we are providing directors to entities however active or dormant, you still have a primary obligation that you don't fall foul of FATCA."

Both find that primary difference between Hong Kong and Singapore in the funds' space is that Hong Kong is a gateway in or out of China - which can be attractive or not. "If  you are China-focussed then Singapore is an unlikelya less likely base but if you are not, then Singapore becomes more attractive" Thompson says.

Turning to the development of a fund passport that represents the industry across Asia, Eastern says that if China is not a part of it then it is not meaningful. "It's good to create something marketable  but China is a big source of capital and in Hong Kong we see lots of business coming out of China and if China is not part of those countries on the passport then it will be less meaningful."

 
This article was published in Opalesque's Asia Pacific Intelligence our monthly research update on alternative investments in the Asia-Pacific region.
Asia Pacific Intelligence
Asia Pacific Intelligence
Asia Pacific Intelligence
Banner
Today's Exclusives Today's Other Voices More Exclusives
Previous Opalesque Exclusives                                  
More Other Voices
Previous Other Voices                                               
Access Alternative Market Briefing
  • Top Forwarded
  • Top Tracked
  • Top Searched
  1. Opalesque Exclusive: Classic Auto Funds Limited (CAF) launches several car investing funds[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: A new trend in alternative alternatives is emerging - car appreciation funds. Classic Auto Funds Limited (CAF) is the first to market with several funds that make super elite luxury cars into real asset investments. As a result of growing overseas demand couple

  2. Investing – Big hedge funds bought Puerto Rico's junk bonds, Fidelity explores new trading venue amid flash trade concerns, Crisis-era Greek bonds reward early buyers with big effective returns, Cargill unit discloses stake in Freddie preferred[more]

    Big hedge funds bought Puerto Rico's junk bonds From Reuters.com: Several large hedge funds doubled down on Puerto Rico in last month's giant bond sale despite the U.S. territory's financial struggles, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing confidential documents reviewed by the newspa

  3. Opalesque Exclusive: Hedge fund replicators evolve[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Hedge fund replicators as a group of products tend to get a bad rap from hedge fund managers who suggest that the best a replicator can offer is dynamic beta capture. A

  4. Opalesque Exclusive: Pensions, endowments, family offices reconsider life settlement investments[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: Hedge funds were once the largest investors in the life settlement industry, now the industry is seeing more interest from pensions, endowments and family offices directly. Life settlements have always been considered a niche part of the investing landscape, an

  5. SEC allows investment funds to use social media[more]

    Bailey McCann, Opalesque New York: The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has released new guidance letting investment funds and advisors use social media to promote client reviews. The guidance seeks to assist investment managers in developing compliance policies and procedures reasonably