Blue Rice's Asian credit fund gleans NewAlpha investment

The deal will help to open doors in Europe for Singapore-based hedge fund manager Blue Rice IM.

Singapore-based Blue Rice Investment Management (Brim) has received an investment from hedge fund incubator NewAlpha Asset Management in a deal that will help bring European investors to its credit-focused fund while providing the Paris-based seeder with much-wanted exposure to Asia.

NewAlpha’s undisclosed investment in the Brim Asian Credit Fund brings its assets under management to just under $60 million, which is double the $30 million in AUM the absolute return strategy managed as of last October, according to Brim founder and chief executive Guan Ong.

NewAlpha is wholly owned by Paris-based OFI Asset Management, which oversees about $65 billion in mutual funds and management mandates. OFI AM itself is jointly owned by French mutual insurers Matmut and Macif, which are in the process of merging.

Ong says that NewAlpha would be able to introduce Brim to more European investors through OFI AM’s broad clientele, which includes pension funds, insurance firms, banks, corporations, family offices and third-party distributors.

Brim primarily invests in both high-grade and high-yield Asian debt securities that are dollar-denominated and issued by sovereign, financial and corporate issuers. “We’re a fixed-income fund,” notes Ong. “NewAlpha’s parent is an insurance company, so fixed income appeals to them as a product”, given its typically steady gains.

NewAlpha manages $70 billion through four funds of funds that invest in emerging managers. It took the first step of reaching out to Brim, says Ong. “NewAlpha wanted to increase their exposure to Asia. It believes in the growth of Asia as a whole in the market.”

Ong founded Brim in 2009 after serving as chief investment officer at sovereign wealth fund Korea Investment Corporation, which has billions in assets. He is content to manage a smaller pool of assets at Brim, which aims for returns in the high single-digit to low double-digit range and thus suits investors seeking long-term gains with low volatility.

 “As long as we’re sustainable, we are happy where we are,” says Ong.

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