Golden Equator Starts Hedge Fund as It Expands Service to Rich

Golden Equator Capital Pte is starting a quantitative hedge fund as it expands beyond traditional wealth management.

The Singapore-based asset management firm is testing the long-short equity fund using quantitative methods to bet on rising and falling stocks in Europe, Japan and the U.S., Golden Equator founder and Chief Executive Officer Shirley Chua said in an interview on July 10. The Golden Equator Multi-Strategy Income Fund is expected to start with S$50 million ($37 million) in the fourth quarter and targets annual returns of 12 percent,

The fund will be Golden Equator’s fourth as the company is developing from a family office to an asset manager investing in Asian technology startup firms, global equities and real estate. Golden Equator also has a fund focusing on technology startup companies, a real estate fund and a vehicle investing in emerging companies.

“The trend is that family offices integrate different services which go beyond the wealth management provided by private banks,” Chua said. “It makes sense to have the whole ecosystem. You know exactly what your clients want and you know what you can provide.”

Other family offices in the region are also expanding into a broader range of services to achieve higher returns and more diversification. Singapore-based Thirdrock Capital Pte said in May it plans to start a second hedge fund. Oclaner Asset Management Pte said its wealthy clients are demanding more direct investments after the firm in 2013 started a real estate closed-end fund investing in southern Malaysia.

Doubling Assets

Golden Equator currently has S$160 million in assets under management and expects to double that amount within the next 12 months, Chua said. The firm is serving 25 families and wealthy individuals, mainly from Asia. Before setting up Golden Equator, she assisted high-net-worth clients from Asia and Europe as a director at Citigroup Inc. in Singapore.

The investment firm’s technology startup vehicle, the Golden Equator Technology and Innovation Fund, started in March and seeks to raise a total of S$60 million, Chua said. The venture capital fund is expected to invest in about 20 companies.

“Technology is going to see tremendous growth in Asia over the next three to five years,” the chief executive officer said. “However, we still need to educate the region’s investors. People in the U.S. understand investing in technology much more than in Asia.”

Apart from the asset management activities, Golden Equator has a consulting unit, which employs about half of the firm’s 29 staff, Chua said. The unit assists the clients of the firm, many of whom are entrepreneurs, in the restructuring or sale of their businesses. It also advises startup firms in developing their ideas.

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