Lindsay Wright moved from a New York-based global position at Deutsche Asset Management to Harvest Global Investment, the Hong Kong arm of Beijing-based Harvest Asset Management, as vice-chairman in September. She tells AsianInvestor about how she plans to take the second largest Chinese asset manager global.

Why did you make such a move?
I just see this as a tremendous opportunity and a challenge to work with the second largest Chinese asset management company in arguably the highest-growth market in the world.

Harvest is not new to me, as I have been the primary relationship and connection point between Harvest and Deutsche since the initial stake was made by Deutsche Bank in 2005 and have been on the Harvest Board for the last five years representing the shareholder. I have a long association with Harvest and know the management team and stakeholders well. I have been working closely for many years with Henry Zhao, CEO of Harvest Fund Management, particularly on certain strategies for the firm.

And personally, it is the right time for me to make the move back to the region when the China asset management market is opening up and further deregulating is occurring.  

What does this move mean for Harvest?
Being a New Zealander, I spent a few years in Australia early in my career, then I worked in Singapore and Tokyo for three years in each, and was in New York for the past two years as global head of strategy and business development for Deutsche Asset Management, before moving to Harvest in Hong Kong. At the time when Harvest looks to further expand and globalise, my background will be relevant by bringing a global strategic perspective to the business both for the continued development of the local and offshore business units.   

Can you outline your priorities with Harvest now?
Right now, the key trends in the asset management industry are wealth accumulation, pension reform, product innovation and globalization. My focus is working closely with Henry Zhao and the management team to ensure we understand and are well positioned to take advantage of these trends both in the mainland and globally as we seek to expand.  

My other key priority is building the alternatives platform (Harvest Alternative Investment Partners), which will incorporate hedge funds, private equity and real estate, with a Greater China and Asian focus. Alternatives investment is still in its fairly early stages for Chinese asset managers, but we believe there will be tremendous opportunities going forward and believe this to be a significant strategic development for the Harvest Group. 

We have already completed our first investment in JT Capital, a Greater China long/short hedge fund, which started trading on November 1. About half of the JT fund’s investments will be in Hong Kong-listed stocks, 30% will be in renminbi-denominated A-shares and the remainder will be depositary receipts traded in the US, Europe and Taiwan. We have taken a significant minority stake in JT Capital and are working with the JT capital team on further distribution of the fund. Meanwhile, we will continue to look for other teams and firms with different strategies in the hedge-fund universe to build out our platform.   

The second investment is a mezzanine structured debt fund, which we expect to start trading in the first quarter of next year.

For the long-only equity business in Hong Kong, we anticipate further growth and expansion and are looking to launch three to four new fund products registered in Luxemburg in the first quarter of next year for investors globally focusing on Greater China and Asian equity strategies.

What has been done at HGI since its establishment last year and what’s next?
Since the establishment of HGI around 18 months ago and the transfer of Greater China and Asian equity funds from Deutsche Asset Management in September last year, the Hong Kong company has completed its first phase of development of bringing key management and investment professionals on board and successfully transitioning the Deutsche business.

We are now entering the second phase of development, which will involve expanding our investment and product range and registering strategies for distribution in more locations globally and getting well-prepared for the forthcoming mini-QFII scheme.