TPG-Axon Partner Wesley Wong Retires After Nine Years With Firm

Wesley Wong, a Hong Kong-based partner of TPG-Axon Capital Management LP, left his employer of almost nine years as the more than $3 billion New York-based hedge-fund manager consolidates its Asia business.

Keita Arisawa, formerly the company’s “point person” for Japan investments, is moving to Hong Kong from Tokyo to lead the entire Asia business, according to an excerpt from a June 3 newsletter to investors seen by Bloomberg News. Dan Gagnier, a spokesman for the hedge fund at Sard Verbinnen & Co. in New York, declined to comment on the departure.

“I have been focused on simplifying and integrating our team in Asia and believe that rather than a segregated Japan and Hong Kong team, a unified approach is critical,” Dinakar Singh, the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. partner who co-founded TPG-Axon in 2004, said in the newsletter.

Wong didn’t reply to four messages sent through social media seeking comment for this story. His license as a responsible officer of the company was terminated on May 27, according to information posted on the website of Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission.

Singh has been reorganizing TPG-Axon after its investment team and offices almost doubled between 2007 and 2008, and it ventured into large thematic commodity trades from its traditional strategy of betting on rising and falling stocks, according to an interview published in the Feb. 27-March 5 issue of London-based trade journal HFMWeek. Singh blamed the expansion for contributing directly to losses in 2008.

‘Best Opportunities’

“I continue to firmly believe that one can make an enormous amount of money investing in Asia, but I think that will only happen if we are selective, and we carefully identify and attack only the best opportunities when they arise,” he said in the investor newsletter.

Investing for the sake of investing is a bad idea anywhere, he added. That approach is especially “problematic” in Asia where the markets are volatile and opportunities ebb and flow in any particular country, he said.

TPG-Axon returned 19 percent last year and about the same in 2012, the HFMWeek report said, citing an unidentified investor.

Most of TPG-Axon’s largest investments were outside the U.S. because valuations in the country were “full” and margins were high, Singh said in an interview with Bloomberg Television in November. Japan was the best “stock-picking market” because of the government’s economic growth strategy, he said in the interview.

Arisawa has worked with Singh since his Goldman Sachs days, according to the June newsletter. TPG-Axon will retain its Tokyo office, Singh said. The company has “the best team and structure on the ground” in Asia that it has had since its start, he added.

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