Income Partners Focuses on Liquid Credit as Chandra Departs

Income Partners Asset Management (H.K.) Ltd., a $1.3 billion credit hedge-fund manager, is moving away from investments in less-frequently traded assets, prompting the departure of one of its three partners.

Jiffriy Chandra, who focused on private-capital investments since the 2008 global financial crisis, left last month after 15 years, Francis Tjia, Hong Kong-based Income Partners’s chief executive officer, said in a telephone interview on April 9.

Hedge-fund companies, including Philip Falcone’s Harbinger Capital Partners LLC, put their most illiquid investments in separate pools and restricted investor withdrawals in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis to avoid fire-sales of such assets as their prices plummeted. Raising money for such illiquid investments has been difficult because of shifts in demand for financing over the years in the region, Tjia said.

“We’ve been growing much more on the liquid, on the credit side and that’s where we want to focus most of our efforts,” Tjia said. “Our liquid side of the business is something we’re known for.”

Within Asia, company demand for private financing has shifted from asset-based lending five years ago to mezzanine loans, private-equity types of investments and more recently high-yield lending, making fundraising tougher, Tjia said. Raising capital for such funds often involves sharing revenue with investors and tapping into a different pool of investors willing to accept years of lockup of their commitments, he said.

Keeping Funds

Income Partners’s private-capital investments have included financing for pre-initial public offerings, and company recapitalization and debt for distressed companies, according to its website. The hedge fund was co-founded by Tjia and Emil Nguy in 1993 as a fixed-income focused asset manager, with the backing of Banque Privee Edmond de Rothschild and Lloyd George Management, the website showed.

The company is retaining its two existing private-capital funds which have fully invested their combined $300 million of capital and are expected to exit the investments in the next couple of years, Tjia said. It has no plans at the moment to raise new funds dedicated to such investments, he said.

Chandra co-founded TransAsia Private Capital Ltd. with Eddie Wong, former chief executive officer of Winnington Capital Ltd., a Hong Kong-based manager with $1.8 billion assets, after leaving Income Partners, the latter said in a separate telephone interview on April 9.

TransAsia, based in Hong Kong, will raise capital from professional and institutional investors to provide private-capital financing to medium-sized growth companies and projects in the consumer, real estate, resources and commodity industries in Greater China and Southeast Asia, according to an e-mailed document provided by Wong.

Chandra, who joined Income Partners in 1998 as a distressed and high-yield analyst, rose to one of its three partners before he left, according to the document.