UBS AG (UBSN), the largest Swiss bank, hired Stephen Pak from Credit Suisse Group AG (CSGN) to head a team that introduces Asian hedge funds to potential investors after losing staff to rivals and new entrants.
Pak, 38, started his job as Hong Kong-based head of regional capital introduction in UBS’s prime brokerage division on Sept. 6. He reports to Ashley Jarvis, global head of business and capital consultancy of the same unit, said Chris Cockerill, a Hong Kong-based UBS spokesman yesterday.
UBS and peers lost prime brokerage employees earlier this year as Barclays Plc, Mizuho Securities Co., and Societe Generale SA went on a hiring spree in anticipation of a market recovery. UBS has hired more industry professionals, including lawyers, former chief operating officers and investor relations officers of asset managers to fill prime brokerage jobs.
“The whole nature of the industry and what clients want have been changing in the last couple of years,” said David Gray, the bank’s head of prime services in Asia-Pacific. “We have to move away from the generalist type of sales approach and instead moved toward seeking out and employing specialists.”
Investors added more than $360 million of new capital to the $74.4 billion Asian hedge fund industry in the second quarter, after pulling $700 million in the first three months, according to Chicago-based data provider Hedge Fund Research Inc.
Hedge fund capital introduction and business consulting, previously distinct teams at UBS, are now working more closely to “give the clients advice, guidance and assistance in structuring and positioning their funds in order to attract investors.”
Prime brokerages’ business consulting teams help hedge funds set up and staff offices, offer advice on fund structure and redemption terms. The capital introduction teams link hedge funds with potential investors.
Previously UBS and many of its competitors preferred to fill prime brokerage vacancies with internal transfers from other bank departments, Gray said.
Both Pak and Ben Horner, who leads UBS’s business consulting team in Asia, report to Jarvis. Horner was former chief operating officer of Hong Kong-based Cranmore Capital Advisors and head of equity finance at London-based hedge fund firm Elliott Advisors (UK) Ltd. in Asia.
Pak, who worked in Credit Suisse’s alternative investments division, was based in the firm’s Hong Kong office before he was transferred to the U.S. in 2009.
UBS hired Henri Arslanian, a lawyer from Timothy Loh Solicitors in Hong Kong, to work on its business consulting team tackling fund structuring and regulatory issues, said Gray.
Cheryl Lau, who formerly handled investor relations for fund managers Hillhouse Capital Management Ltd. and Value Partners Group Ltd. (806), also joined UBS’s capital introduction team.
Alastair Sclater, former UBS Singapore prime brokerage head, joined Mizuho, two people with knowledge of the matter said in July. Barclays increased the number of people on its Asia prime services team by 65 percent, Ryan Bacher, its Singapore-based head of prime services for Asia said in May.
Other departures from UBS this year include Hugh Abdullah, who joined Morgan Stanley last month as head of capital introduction in Asia. Credit Suisse hired Vasundhara Pradeep, a former director on UBS’s prime brokerage sales and business consulting team, to lead consulting services for hedge funds in Asia-Pacific, according to a memo in May.
Hedge funds are mostly private pools of capital whose managers participate substantially in the profits from their speculation on whether the price of assets will rise or fall.
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