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Sinha had been managing director, head of Asian investments and co-portfolio manager for global emerging markets at Morgan Stanley. He has been the Asia ex-Japan equities CIO since 2000.
He has been at the firm for 11 years, starting off as an Indian equities manager. Among his achievements is having revamped the team in the wake of the 1997-98 financial crisis and went on to double assets under management. Sinha got his start as a fund manager at SBI Funds in India during the early 1990s.
He leaves behind a $10.5 billion portfolio in Asian equities run out of Singapore. The firm is recruiting a new CIO from outside, a process that Sinha is helping with. In the meantime, day-to-day work is being overseen by Narayn Ramachandran, co-head of the emerging markets team. Sinha believes his replacement will be on board before June. This is his last week working at the firm.
The new partnership, Amoeba Capital Partners, is based in Singapore and expects to have enough commitments to launch the fund in mid-June. Sinha says he is in discussions with a number of endowments and pension funds in the United States, and a few in Hong Kong as well.
Sinha's partner at Amoeba is his younger brother Manish, who has spent the past four years as an investment analyst in New York's hedge fund world. He specialised in event-driven strategies with an emphasis on distressed transactions for Litespeed Management. Before that, he was an equities analyst at Oaktree Capital Management. His background is in management consulting, having worked for three years at McKinsey & Company in New Jersey.
They named the company after the Greek word for "change". The long/short fund's investment style will emphasise big, thematic bets, rather like the way Sinha managed equities for Morgan Stanley. He says the jump to including shorts is not a big one: Manish has hedge-fund experience, and anyway Ashutosh tended to heavily over- or under-weight sectors or companies. Now instead of holding nothing in a sector, he can short it.
"We see plenty of stocks go down in this region," Ashutosh says. "There's lots of churn and plenty of corporate Darwinism in areas like technology in Taiwan. The trick is to be patient, and get the timing of your execution right."
The new fund will attempt to achieve a gross return of over 20%. It carries a 1.75% management fee and a 20% performance fee with a highwater mark. Morgan Stanley is, of course, acting as prime broker, while HSBC has been appointed fund administrator.
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