Swiss alternatives firm Gottex Fund Management aims to launch Asia-tilted multi-asset products and an A-share fund in the first quarter of next year. It is also looking at developing retail versions of its liquid alternative strategies with a view to bringing them out in the first half of 2015.

The manager has applied for an RQFII quota and will launch the China fund with mainland partner Vstone Asset Management.

Gottex is also busy seeking to strengthen its business development teams globally with a view to selling these products, with five marketing positions open across Europe and the US.

It has already hired James Hughes, previously group chief investment officer at HSBC Insurance, as head of institutional business development for the multi-asset team, a newly created role. He will start on October 1. He also used to run the UK multi-manager business for HSBC Global Asset Management.

“We’ve seen a material increase in demand for China investment products, so we want to make sure we have strong distribution capabilities in Europe and the US for these and other Asia-dedicated products,” said Max Gottschalk, Asia chief executive at Gottex based in Hong Kong.

“Our liquid alternative offering is institutional and bespoke in nature, and currently embedded within our multi-asset programmes,” he added. “We are looking at Ucits and US mutual fund structures for a retail launch. But these are still in the research phase as we are engaging with potential distributors to gauge investor appetite and product structure. It is too early to discuss them in any detail.”

Gottex has 10 investment staff out of a total 23 in Hong Kong and 15 investment staff of a total of 30 in Shanghai. It is planning to strengthen these capabilities, but Gottschalk, but he declined to give a target.

Moreover, the firm’s Australian advisory business has been growing very quickly since its launch in Melbourne last year, he added, but declined to give figures. He said this growth has come on the back of higher demand for independent advice on alternative investments from institutions and family offices. As a result, it is planning to expand its team there.

But there have also been cost and staff reductions following Gottex’s merger with Swiss $2.5 billion fund-of-funds firm EIM, noted Gottschalk. The transaction was announced in December, approved by the Swiss regulator in August and is due to complete in the next few days. The combined entity was around $8.6 billion in AUM as of July 31. Some 30 people have been cut from across the two groups as a result of merger synergies.

Meanwhile, hedge fund seeding platform HS Group, in which Gottex took a stake last year, launched Pleiad Investment Advisors with over $300 million in assets this month. The Hong Kong-based long/short equities manager is targeting a second close to double its size to around $600 million by early next year.

Pleiad was co-founded by former Soros Fund Management executives Kenneth Lee and Michael Yoshino and has a focus on China and Japan. The firm has also hired two former Goldman Sachs Asset Management executives, Masaki Taniguchi as chief operating officer and Vien Chu as chief financial officer, as reported.