Goldman gets Moe Money

Goldman brings Timothy Moe back to Asia as its strategist.

Asian bulls just got one more piece of ammunition. Big hitter, Timothy Moe is returning to the region and let no one doubt his market timing.

Moe ran Asian strategy and research for Jardine Fleming and Salomon Brothers in the go-go early 90s, when the Asian bull market was at its height and champagne corks popped at the end of every trading day. He then left in 1996 to become a hedge fund manager in the US with the $4 billion fund, Omega Advisors, and then set up Tristar Advisors in 1999, a hedge fund that invested in telecoms, tech, financials and cyclical sectors.

Now Moe is returning to Asia, where he will be an MD and strategist with Goldman Sachs, and he is once again keen on the Asian growth story.

"In 1996 I did have a feeling that the Asian investment story wasn't quite as attractive as it had been in the previous 10 years," says Moe. "I had a sense things were getting richly valued and there were a number of problems. And while I can't say I predicted the currency crisis, I left in 1996 with some concerns about the region.

"It is fair to say I take a much more constructive view of Asian markets now in absolute and relative terms. Asia is well positioned, I believe, in the medium term. Valuations are much more reasonable and it is decoupling from its developed world counterparts.

"I also feel that Asia has faced a 'regulatory discount' to other markets since 1997, because investors worried about the lack of disclosure, transparency and so forth. In the last few years the developed world markets were viewed as paragons, and Asia more of 'the wild East'. Now Asia has made some positive steps and the developed world markets no longer have paragon-status, so the Asian 'regulatory discount' should narrow."

Moe will start in May and says he is particularly excited about the Greater China theme. His mandate will eventually include Australia, but not Japan where Kathy Matsui is strategist.

Moe replaces Anand Aithal, who was Goldman's strategist until November. Goldman appears to be ramping up on the research front, and will announce further hires in Korea and Taiwan.

Goldman's co-head of research, Paul Bernard comments: "We are delighted to have someone of Tim's stature and experience joining the firm. Tim reflects our ongoing investment and commitment to our Asian research business."