KE has announced two new senior appointments. David Blennerhassett has been hired as head of alternative strategies, a research-oriented role. He comes from heading research at Sinopec Securities and has a fundamental long/short background.

He will build a team of three more analysts, and it is envisaged that their skillsets will incorporate event driven, quantitative and M&A, in order to provide research ideas in these areas of hedge fund interest.

David Kwan has been promoted internally from the sales desk to take the new post of head of sales, in which capacity he will be responsible for a team of seven salesmen.

ôWe have to build up our critical mass now because business is growing at 70% per year,ö says Tom Ashworth, managing director in Hong Kong.

Business for KE Absolute has traditionally been strong in Europe, and its next target is North America, where one fifth of its business is currently derived. The firm hopes to boost income in the States from funds trading Asian strategies to half of its revenue.

Concerning how much people get paid in an independent house like KE Absolute, as opposed to an investment banking-style securities house, KE adds that it tries to differentiate itself by avoiding the inevitable nasty surprises that seem axiomatic with discretionary bonuses. KE Absolute says it pays its sales team their bonuses using a fixed formula of commission sharing.

KE Absolute is an independent unit of Kim Eng Securities, which gives it access to all Asian markets. It specializes in servicing Asian focused hedge funds.

It splits research coverage into five categories, opportunistic, market neutral, arbitrage, relative value and event driven. Also; if asked nicely, a hedge fund can give them a trading idea and KE Absolute says it will come up with a research view on it.