Hedge fund spin-out Pleiad Investment Advisors has been joined by the former head of regional product strategy and development at Goldman Sachs Asset Management as it readies for launch, AsianInvestor can confirm.

Masaki Taniguchi left GSAM in April to take up the role of responsible officer and chief operating officer at Pleiad, as revealed by regulatory registration records. He has pedigree in Asia’s hedge fund industry, having spent more than 10 years at Sparx Group, latterly as chief operating officer based in Hong Kong.

Taniguchi left Sparx in 2012 to rejoin GSAM as managing director and its first head of product development for Asia Pacific, as reported. He had worked for Goldman Sachs earlier in his career.

He becomes the second former Goldman Sachs executive known to have joined Pleiad. Vien Chiu, Pleiad’s new chief financial officer, was an executive director at the prime brokerage unit of Goldman Sachs.

Co-founded by former Soros investment executives Kenneth Lee and Michael Yoshino, Pleiad is expected to launch a long/short equities hedge fund with a focus on China and Japan with at least $150 million. If confirmed, that would make it one of the largest hedge fund launches to date this year.

Research from Eurekahedge finds two start-up hedge funds in the region with more than $100 million this year: LBN China+ Opportunity Ucits Fund ($140 million) and Counterpoint Asian Macro Fund ($122 million). At least four other start-ups are believed to be in the pipeline.

Regulatory records show that Pleiad was granted an asset management licence by Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission on June 13. Pleiad is expected to launch its hedge fund in the third quarter of this year.

Johannes Kaps, chief executive officer of HS Group – an institutional investment firm that has invested in Pleiad, the hedge fund spin-out of Soros Fund Management – confirmed the appointment.

“The founding partners have first-class pedigree both on the investment side and the business side, and are focused on building an institutional quality business,” he tells AsianInvestor.

“Taniguchi-san previously managed one of Asia’s largest alternative asset management firms and his track record and experience will be invaluable to the team.”

During a decade at Sparx Group Taniguchi worked as president and director of Sparx Asia Investment Advisors (Hong Kong) and director and COO of Sparx Asset Management (Tokyo), based in Hong Kong.

He left the alternatives firm in March 2012 to join GSAM as its first head of product development for Asia Pacific to tailor its offering to institutional investors and fund distributors in the region.

He had been tasked with identifying and building product capabilities across the region and working with clients in Asia ex-Japan to identify areas of interaction in a multi-strategy approach. He was also brought in to hire a regional product development team.

Historically GSAM had product development capabilities in Japan and Korea overseen by a team in London. The idea with Taniguchi’s hire was to focus on servicing the needs of Asian clients, both institutional and distributors.

A spokesperson for GSAM in Asia confirmed that Taniguchi’s responsibilities were being shared by other members of the team and that he will not be replaced. Shoqat Bunglawala will continue to lead the team in international product strategy and development based out of London.