Singapore-based GCI Investment Management, a hedge fund firm majority-owned by Tokyo-based GCI Asset Management, is setting up an office in London, AsianInvestor has learned. Its aim is to obtain better access to information globally and optimise its coverage of time zones.
Naruhisa Nakagawa, chief investment officer of the $465 million hedge fund firm, will move to the UK from Singapore in December to join another executive who is already there. They will be joined at a later date by business development manager Osamu Saito and another employee.
By February next year the firm plans to have six people working in London providing support in areas such as investment advisory, research and client support. Eight will remain in Singapore to execute trades and run other functions including portfolio management.
GCI IM set up in Singapore in November 2004.
Commenting on the motivation behind the UK move, Saito told AsianInvestor: “Japan is intrinsically tied to the global economy. We feel that understanding the broader global picture is a requirement for understanding Japan.
“Operating from London will allow us to gain access to the best information on a global scale in a timely manner, while simultaneously optimising our operating hours.”
Moreover, industry observers noted that setting up in Europe will make it easier to sell products there under the Alternative Investment Fund Managers Directive. These rules have put more constraints on non-EU-based alternatives managers marketing to investors in European Union member states.
GCI IM runs two strategies: GCI Japan Hybrids, which invests in Japanese stocks, corporate bonds, options and hybrid securities, and the Aleutian Fund, a global, geographically unconstrained version of the same strategy.
GCI Japan Hybrids is $330 million in size and the Aleutian Fund $135 million. The funds’ annualised returns were 21% and 17%, respectively, as of the end of October.