Sun, Feb 26, 2017
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
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. Institutional investors plan to raise allocations to alternative assets in 2017[more]

    Komfie Manalo, Opalesque Asia: A survey by Context Summits Miami showed that nearly 72% of institutional investors and family offices plan to raise their allocations to alternative asset managers this year, suggesting continued strong demand for the industry. "As many large, brand name f

  2. Comment - Mortgages, mergers and hedge fund fees, Fairholme's Berkowitz responds to court ruling against hedge fund suits of Fannie Mae[more]

    Mortgages, mergers and hedge fund fees From Bloomberg.com: Yesterday the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit handed down an odd decision in a lawsuit over the government's nationalization of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The key issue is what's called the "Third Amendment," the 2012

  3. Investing - Hedge funds continue to chase the herd in record Momentum wager, Marshall Wace bets grocer Sainsbury may need rights offering, Hedge fund net exposure has started to retreat, David Tepper's Appaloosa fund makes a huge buy, The 10,000-mile journey to Short Australia, Skeptical hedge fund investors grill Evan Spiegel about Snap's I.P.O.[more]

    Hedge funds continue to chase the herd in record Momentum wager From Bloomberg.com: Hedge funds can't get enough of momentum - even if it means embracing an investing strategy they hate. Loosely defined as betting on shares that went up the fastest over the preceding nine-to-12 months, h

  4. Opalesque Exclusive: Swiss investors take fund seeding and acceleration into their own hands[more]

    Benedicte Gravrand, Opalesque Geneva: Banque Bonhote, a 200-year old Swiss private bank, last year launched a community of investors - heads of Swiss family and advisory offices and wealth managers - with the aim of co-investing in the kind of managers they wanted to invest in, either by way of s

  5. K2 Advisors : Why We Like Activist Hedge Fund Strategies and Some Thoughts on Alpha[more]

    Matthias Knab, Opalesque: Rob Christian, Senior Managing Director, Head of Research K2 Advisors, Franklin Templeton Solutions, writes on Harvest Exchange: When d