Asia’s top 25 women: Archana Hingorani, Ho Ching

AsianInvestor profiles Archana Hingorani from IL&FS Investment Managers and Ho Ching from Temasek from our list of the most influential women in asset management.
Asia’s top 25 women: Archana Hingorani, Ho Ching

India and Singapore are the home markets of the next two CEOs to feature on AsianInvestor’s second list of the 25 most influential women in Asian asset management.

Archana Hingorani is a trailblazer of India’s private equity industry, who started in the 1990s to fill a market gap that she argues remains unfilled today. She says she is targeting new fund launches in three sectors this year.

We also feature Ho Ching of Temasek Holdings. The S$215 billion ($171 billion) state investment company has expanded geographically under her watch, opening in London this year and with plans for New York in 2015. The institution continues to develop its set-up and the way it allocates capital.

AsianInvestor’s top 25 project is unique. To see the list in full published in alphabetical order by surname, please click here. To compare it to our inaugural list – which included distribution experts and service providers – please click here. You can also click here to view a photo gallery of our top 25 from 2011.

To celebrate, AsianInvestor is hosting a lunch to congratulate the winners. This will be staged in conjunction with AsianInvestor’s inaugural Women in Asset Management Forum, at which many of these winners will be present to discuss a series of industry topics. Both will take place on Tuesday, May 20 at the Ritz Carlton Hong Kong.

For tickets or sponsorship enquiries for our Ladies' Long Lunch or Women in Asset Management Forum, please email [email protected] or call +852 3175 1954.

Archana Hingorani
, CEO, IL&FS Investment Managers
Long-term commitment has underpinned the private equity career of Archana Hingorani, chief executive of IL&FS Investment Managers Limited (IIML), one of India’s largest and longest-established PE firms with $3.2 billion in AUM. She entered the field during the 1990s with the industry still in its infancy, following a teaching stint in the US, where she earned a PhD in corporate finance at the University of Pittsburgh.
Shortly after returning to India in 1993, Hingorani landed a job as an economist at Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS), an Indian infrastructure development and finance company. She went on to become a founding member of IIML when it was set up in 1995 as a private equity firm under the auspices of IL&FS. “Our concept was there was a big equity gap in India, and there still is,” she says. “It’s an equity-starved country. If you go back 20 years, it would have been even worse than it is today.”
Western-style private equity was a new concept in India in the 1990s, making investments more difficult than they ought to have been. “It took a fair bit of education, at least in the first couple of years, to convince entrepreneurs that taking on private equity investment was a good thing,” she recalls. “A lot of them were wary that it would mean having somebody looking over their shoulder all the time.”
IIML has since invested about $3 billion across real estate, infrastructure and growth equity deals from 13 funds. New funds are being planned for these three sectors this year, confirms Hingorani. She believes India’s PE industry offers women with ample career opportunities, but advises: “It’s a long-term business. You only want to get into it if you have the ability to keep with the industry to see through your investments.”

Ho Ching, CEO, Temasek Holdings
Ho Ching was on our inaugural top 25 list three years ago, and her enduring influence as head of Temasek Holdings made her an essential pick this time around. Her temporary replacement in 2009 by former BHP Billiton boss Chip Goodyear and subsequent re-appointment may have served to underline her authority rather than diminish it.
The Singapore state investment company – with an investment portfolio of S$215 billion ($171 billion) – has continued to develop its set-up and the way it allocates capital. Since the $3 billion launch in 2010 of an internal hedge fund, SeaTown, Temasek has established specialist investment units. Pavilion Capital was set up in late 2011 to focus on Chinese private equity investment.
Temasek has also struck significant co-investment partnerships, such as the one in June 2011 with Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah focusing on property, and the launch in April this year of Astrea II, a co-investment vehicle with holdings in 36 PE funds, to which Temasek has the biggest allocation.
Under Ho’s stewardship, the institution has also continued to expand its geographic horizons, particularly in the West. Most recently it opened an office in London in March and plans to do the same in New York. The firm’s combined allocation to Europe and North America rose to 12% in the year to March 31, 2013, from 11%, largely in the energy and resources sectors, and that proportion is likely to grow further. The firm also seems to be increasing its focus on certain emerging markets – witness its move last year to send a 45-strong delegation to Turkey to scope out potential investments.
Ho has been in charge for around a decade now. It would be foolish to bet against her staying in the post for a while longer yet.

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