Drake Management, a $6.5 billion global macro hedge fund based in New York, has opened an office in Tokyo to cover Asia Pacific client service, says Richard Horodeck, president at Drake Management (Asia).

Horodeck oversees the Asia-Pacific region from Tokyo, while Keiji Yamauchi runs the Japan operations and Hou Chunli will cover the rest of East Asia.

The firm decided to make Tokyo its first office outside of the United States because it already sources a lot of assets, approximately $500 million, from large clients there.

ôItÆs about the level of penetration,ö Horodeck explains. ôIf youÆre a deep-sea diver, you can hold your breath and you know how far down youÆre going to go. And then you go back to the surface but thereÆs still a whole lot more below.ö Extending the analogy, the firm decided to leave the surface to extend its reach.

Horodeck joined in 2004 in New York where he began developing the Asia client base. (Drake itself opened doors in 2002, founded by ex-Pimco and BlackRock managers.) Drake also has clients in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. For now the office serves to do client servicing and marketing, although one day the firm may put research professionals there as well. But the first step was to establish a physical presence in the region.

Hou joins from Taiwan where he was CEO at Prudentce International Advisors, a local fund of hedge funds, and DrakeÆs first and largest distributor in Taiwan. (David Chen, a former banker from Jih Sun Bank, has assumed the CEO role at Prudence.) Hou had first met Horodeck while running a fund of hedge funds for Nomura Securities in New York.

Horodeck explains HouÆs job is not primarily to develop new business, as the firm already has clients in Taiwan and other markets, but to streamline the Asia business as Drake has done in Japan.

ôChunliÆs already done that for Prudence in Taiwan,ö Horodeck says. Hou also has a quantitative background with a PhD from Columbia University.

That means extending distribution relationships with private banks and other channels in Korea, Singapore and Australia, among other markets. In Japan, where much of DrakeÆs assets have come through funds of funds, itÆs about accessing smaller institutions such as pension funds and regional banks.

Horodeck previously lived in Tokyo for 12 years, including running JapanHedge and his own law practice. He speaks Japanese and Mandarin.