Hong Kong: Hedge fund Zeal Asset Management has increased assets fivefold to about $200 million since its January 2010 launch and has signed a pact with Blackstone Group LP unit Park Hill in a push to raise assets globally, chief executive Franco Ngan said.
Zeal started with a Greater China focused long/short equity strategy, Zeal China Fund, with $40 million in January 2010 and added the long-biased Voyage Zelec Fund in September last year.
Its flagship fund returned 24.6% from its launch to the end of April 2011. By comparison, the Eurekahedge Greater China long/short equities index gained 11.3%. The fund was up 6.3% in the first four months of 2011.
The fund has grown mainly with money from investors in Asia in a year that saw assets flowing largely in favour of bigger and well-established names.
Now, it has taken a different path and is working with Park Hill to raise funds from its network of global institutional investors, while it focuses on investment management.
“Their value proposition is actually very attractive to us because we want to focus more on managing the performance of the fund. We don’t want to spend excessive time on marketing,” Ngan told Reuters in an interview.
“So if we can leverage on Blackstone’s network and bring the product to their high quality institutional clients around the world, that is the most efficient way to use our time in terms of fundraising.”
Park Hill said it would conduct a series of road shows for Zeal, helping it raise funds from its institutional clients.
Zeal was founded by Jacky Choi, its chief investment officer and former senior fund manager of $9 billion money manager Value Partners, and Daniel Poon, who earlier worked at Deutsche Bank AG and UBS AG .
Ngan, former chief executive of Value Partners and Chau Yee Man, who also worked at the firm as a senior fund manager, are also partners of Zeal Asset Management.
Outperformance over peers, a large team and a strong pedigree between the partners with more than 15 years of working together helped the firm grow rapidly since launch, Ngan said.
“That certainly gives people comfort, peace of mind that you guys have worked together before, during good times and bad times,” the Hong Kong-based executive said.
He said the firm realised that the old model of two brilliant managers setting up a hedge fund was gone and had built a team of 17, including nine investment professionals.
He declined to disclose the capacity of the fund or target assets under management but said the firm could handle much larger assets than it had given the team size, a broader investment mandate and experience.
Zeal won the best new Asian hedge fund award last month from industry tracker Eurekahedge.