Markus Ohlig is set to assume the newly created role of head of Asia at investment and advisory firm Meridian Equity Partners on July 1, when he officially leaves consultancy Greenwich Associates.

Meridian opened its office in the city-state two weeks ago.

Ohlig's remit is to build out the UK firm’s business in non-recourse shareholder financing in Asia, focusing on Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Thailand. Those markets were chosen because they allow the pledging of stock loans for non-recourse financing, Ohlig tells AsianInvestor.

The driver for the expansion is Asia’s growing wealth, which has resulted in an increase in shareholders who wish to unlock cash from their shares without selling their holding, he adds.

Meridian works with US private equity fund Equities First Holdings, which funds the loans.

In one recently announced transaction funded by Equities First, Asia Gain Investments entered into a share pledge agreement for 16.36% of issued share capital in Hong Kong-listed West China Cement, of which it holds a controlling stake, with the funds raised used to buy shares in the company.

"Our partnership with Equities First allows us to offer financing on favourable terms – typically 60% to 70% LTV, and low-single-digit interest rates, even for local-currency loans in THB and IDR, for a wide universe of stocks," says Ohlig. "It is becoming very difficult for borrowers to obtain such terms from banks."

Over the past two years, Meridian has facilitated transactions totalling more than $100 million in Asia Pacific. 

Ohlig joined Greenwich Associates in January 2004 as vice president, before being promoted to principal and later managing director. He was replaced by Abhi Shroff, and the institutional research firm has recently been adding staff in Asia, as reported.