Frank Packard joins Triple-A

The hedge fund seeding group looks to help with introductions in Japan.

Asia Alternative Asset Partners, aka Triple-A Partners, is extending its business reach into Japan and Korea.

It has hired Frank Packard as its Japan representative. Packard comes from HSBC, where he was marketing funds of hedge funds for its private bank.

Packard has been involved in alternative assets for the past decade. He moved to Asia in 1986 as an investment banker, for names including Drexel Burnham, Bankers Trust and Bank of America. While at BoA he helped set up alternative investment vehicles, including infrastructure funds, and in 2000 left to be a consultant on hedge funds. He also helped found a local Japanese broker/dealer to market private-equity and hedge funds. In 2007 he joined HSBC.

Paul Smith, one of the three founders of hedge-fund seeder Triple-A, used to run HSBC's global alternatives servicing platform, but had left before Packard joined. The two have a lot of common friends, however, from HSBC (notably from the Bank of Bermuda alternative services platform that Smith had built in Hong Kong and sold to HSBC).

Triple-A has also appointed Henry "Hank" Morris as its rep for Korea. Morris has a longstanding relationship with Smith, and had done research and rep work for Bank of Bermuda related to Korea.

Packard says signing he and Morris on demonstrates Triple-A's decision to have a presence in Japan and Korea, which are home to the biggest alternative exposures in the region.

But in addition to seeding opportunities, Triple-A sees new opportunities in the Japanese market to collaborate with local securities companies to provide alternative solutions.

Packard explains that many hedge funds are being forced to cut back on their marketing budgets. They face increased costs worldwide with regard to reporting, disclosure and headcount -- but at a time when AUM has been reduced and revenues are down. Triple-A can provide advice on marketing strategy and accessing Japanese investors.

This is to be done in partnership with a local financial institution, and Packard is currently in discussions with several. Triple-A prefers to create an exclusive relationship with one partner. Packard emphasises that among the qualities that Triple-A brings to the table is being regulated by authorities in Hong Kong, America and Britain. "It's important to be compliant," he says.

It is agnostic about what alternative products to market in Japan. The funds could be from its stable of seeded managers, or other firms looking for entree to Japan. It comes down to a suitable fit, track record, experience in Japan, their reporting capability and commercial terms.

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